Environment Canterbury has released the Canterbury Water Use Report (2011/12) which analyses the consented and actual amounts of fresh water used in Canterbury for the year ended June 30, 2012.
“Consented water users in Canterbury are well on the way to providing the data Environment Canterbury needs to better understand water use, and ultimately provide for better water management in the region,” says David Caygill, Environment Canterbury’s Commissioner with responsibility for water.
Water consent holders with takes of 20 litres per second and more were required to install a water measuring system by November 10, 2012 under the Government’s National Regulations on water measuring. Consent holders must also provide their water use data to their regional council in July of each year.
“Many consent holders are already providing their water usage information to Environment Canterbury – ahead of the requirements in the regulations – and are also using this information to better manage and make more efficient use of water on their properties.”
A key finding from the report is that 39% of allocated groundwater was used during the 2011/12 year compared with 52% in the previous year. For surface water 43.4% of the volume of allocated takes was used compared with 49.5% the previous year.
The amount of consented water used in the 2011/12 season was relatively low likely because of a wetter-than-usual season: during the main irrigation season from October 2011 to April 2012 soil moisture levels were often replenished by rainfall without the need for irrigation.
The report also provides information on water use by water management zone, including statistics on the proportion of wells and surface water takes with metering systems installed.
As at 30 June 2012, 58% of groundwater wells with takes of 20l/s and more throughout Canterbury had water meters installed and consent holders had provided data for the 2011/12 report, up from 43% in the previous water year.
“We are aware of many consent holders, however, who have missed the November 10 deadline to install a water measuring system, but who have made arrangements with service providers to have a system installed.
“Environment Canterbury started a compliance programme in November to remind consent holders of their obligations and ultimately we will ensure full compliance with the regulations.”
Ashburton zone – which has 1735 wells – had the highest proportion of metered wells at 59.5%. Selwyn-Waihora zone had the most wells at 2080 with 46.4% of these metered.
For surface water takes around 34% had measuring systems installed, compared with 24% in the previous year (for takes of 20 l/s and more).
In total the metered water takes represented 62.4% (1137 million cubic metres) of all allocated groundwater, and 20.5% (3213 million cubic metres) of all allocated surface water in Canterbury.
The 2011/12 report is based on data from 2140 water takes, up from 1509 water takes in the previous year’s report.