Recreational and amenity opportunities
Recreation and amenity opportunities provided by Canterbury's water bodies are of social, cultural and economic benefit to the region.
Under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS), goals were set to help make a difference to our environment and how natural resources are managed.
Environment Canterbury reports on progress on behalf of CWMS partners. Note there is no consistent information source on the extent and quality of water-related recreational activities in Canterbury, with the exception of Fish & Game's angler surveys. Lacking this information, the benefits of recreation – including tourism benefits – cannot be accurately described or measured.
Here's how things are progressing against 2020 goals. View information on:
- Water-based recreational opportunities
- Recreational water flows
- Freshwater angling
- Recreational water quality
- Zone Committees have been implementing actions to improve recreational opportunities in their zone. The Hurunui SPLASH project aims to improve local swimming holes in the region, including Balmoral Recreation Reserve, Riverside Reserve, Waitohi River and Dog Stream.
- A new development for recreation activities was opened in May 2019 at The Willows in West Melton.
- Lake and river access information, and the facilities available at local recreation spots, can be found on the 'StoryMap' of public waterbodies in the region and on the Canterbury Maps website.
- Councils will implement new national policy – the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F) – which include human health for recreation as a compulsory value.
- Water Zone Committees will continue to consider projects that provide for recreation in their region.
- Environment Canterbury monitors river flow throughout Canterbury.
- Environment Canterbury provides real-time information on irrigation restrictions across most rivers in Canterbury.
- The Ashburton water consent review process seeks to set new minimum flow conditions on existing consents to take water from sources that contribute to stream depletion in the Hakatere / Ashburton River catchment.
- Environment Canterbury will continue to monitor flow levels and place restrictions on water abstractions to maintain flows.
- Fish & Game continues to undertake projects to increase fishing opportunities.
- Since 2018, Environment Canterbury has prioritised fish screens in its compliance programme.
- Environment Canterbury is working with consent holders to upgrade their fish screens and/or put in place interim measures.
- Fish & Game has developed an Adaptive Management Strategy to help salmon stocks recover.
- Environment Canterbury will continue to implement work programmes to support fish screen compliance.
- The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is expected to produce the next National Angler Survey in 2021/22.
- Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) has a comprehensive online guide based on the latest water quality information that enables the public to decide on the best place to swim.
- Environment Canterbury maintains up to date water quality monitoring information for popular swimming sites and releases river warnings for popular recreational sites.
- Environment Canterbury will continue to monitor and report on freshwater recreation sites annually.