Canterbury's water story

Canterbury’s braided alpine rivers provide much of the water to our precious groundwater aquifers.  Originating in the Southern Alps, these river systems bring water across the Canterbury Plains, feeding the aquifers deep under the land.  As well as providing our fresh drinking water, the aquifers supply the vast amounts of water needed to more widely sustain our population and our economy.

Canterbury’s water is unique – coming from rain, and snow melt in the Alps, coursing through our braided, alpine rivers.  The multiple, shifting channels of these rivers are an iconic natural feature.


We're fortunate to have plenty of water - Christchurch aquifers are replenished with 375 billion litres of water per year.

We now have the strictest limits in New Zealand to sustainably manage the use of our water.

Water allocation is an important and strategic issue. Decisions around water use need to both sustain the economy and protect our environment.

Responsibilty for water quality in Christchurch is held by three agencies; Environment Canterbury, the Christchurch City Council and Canterbury District Health Board.

Water diagram