The Hinds Drains Working Party

The Hinds Drains Working Party (HDWP) was formed by the Ashburton Zone Committee in 2014 to facilitate a water body by water body approach to developing management plans for the main water bodies of the Lower Hinds plains area.

It comprises a mix of water zone committee appointees and elected farmer community members and is chaired by local farmer Peter Lowe.

In March 2016, the HDWP presented 16 water management recommendations to the Ashburton water zone committee.

The committee is now working with Environment Canterbury, HDWP members and the wider community to implement these recommendations.

Four key projects are being actioned on the ground (summarised on this page) and other recommendations are being implemented through planning processes.

Hinds Drains community monitoring programme

The Hinds Plains community began intensive flow and water quality monitoring at 27 sites on eight drains in the Hinds Plains area in August 2014, which has added to the scientific understanding of water quality and flows in the area. Extensive ecological studies have also been carried out with the support of Fish & Game and DairyNZ.

Boundary Drain variable minimum flow trial

One of the recommendations of the HDWP was to determine a variable flow regime for Hinds Drains based on monthly steps. The new regime needed to take into account peak abstraction requirements as well as high flow requirements for different fish species, including migration and life stages.

The Hinds/Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Pilot Project

The Hinds/Hekeao Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Pilot Project was designed to evaluate the use of purposeful recharge to help replenish declining groundwater levels, restore flows in the coastal drains and improve water quality in the underlying shallow aquifer.

Improving opportunities to gather safe mahinga kai

Members of the Hinds community are working with Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua and landowners to develop and enhance local mahinga kai sites.