Have your say on urban water management issues

Thursday 13 December 2012, 4:37PM
By Environment Canterbury


The Christchurch - West Melton Zone Committee wants feedback on its draft Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP) for water management.

The draft ZIP provides water management recommendations to councils and stakeholders to achieve the targets and goals set out in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS).

The committee is hosting two community meetings for local people, groups and organisations to provide feedback on the recommendations made in the draft ZIP.

Christchurch - West Melton Zone Committee Chair Ian Fox said the completion of the draft ZIP is the culmination of months of hard work by the zone committee.

“The Christchurch - West Melton draft ZIP has been developed following numerous committee meetings, workshops, fieldtrips, and engagement with community groups and stakeholder organisations to gather information about the zone’s water resource.

“Despite coming from varied backgrounds and having different interests, each member has worked collaboratively to achieve consensus based outcomes designed to enable present and future generations the greatest benefits from the region’s water.

“The underlying philosophy of the CWMS is that local communities should be making decisions on local water management. How we manage water has an influence on our quality of life and prosperity both now and for future generations.

“Community input is vital to ensuring our water resource is managed sustainability. We now want to hear what local people like and don’t like about the draft ZIP recommendations and whether there are other things they think should be changed,” said Ian Fox.

The draft ZIP focusses on five priority areas for water management. These are:

Enhancing and managing waterways for recreation, relaxation and amenity
Improving surface water quality and safeguarding surface water flows
Enhancing healthy ecosystems, indigenous biodiversity, and valued introduced species and landscapes
Safeguarding groundwater quality and flows for multiple uses
Making efficient use of water and managing demand
Ian Fox said the zone committee also sees synergies between the Greater Christchurch Recovery Strategy and the CWMS.

“In the context of implementing the CWMS, we recognise that recovering from the earthquakes presents additional water related challenges and opportunities.

“The physical characteristics of some of our waterways altered significantly following February’s earthquake. River bed levels changed, banks collapsed, and there were significant changes to the bed of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai.

“Studies also show the water chemistry of local waterways was altered and this had an impact on the local ecology including vegetation, fish, invertebrates and micro-organisms.”

“The committee believes it is important that earthquake recovery programmes help to implement the CWMS where possible. Recovery Programmes such as the Natural Environment Recovery Programme, the Infrastructure Programme and the Residential Red Zone Programme have particular opportunities to progress the ZIP’s recommendations and these are the kind of issues we want community input on,” he said.

Once community feedback has been considered the ZIP will be updated and presented to councils as the basis for work programmes and for drafting regional plans.

The Christchurch - West Melton Zone committee was set up under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and had its launch in October 2011. The committee consists of six community members, three Rūnanga representatives, and appointees from Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and Selwyn District Council.

Meeting details:
Christchurch – West Melton Zone Committee draft ZIP feedback meeting
18 December 2012, 7-9pm
Wigram Manor, 14 Henry Wigram Drive Wigram Park

A second meeting is also scheduled for 24 January from 7-9pm at Wigram Manor.

Copies of the draft ZIP and feedback form will be available at the community meetings and at: http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/Council/chch-west-melton-zip.pdf prior to the meetings.

The feedback period is open from 10 December until 3 February 2013.