Major milestone for Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The Hurunui District Council and Environment Canterbury have endorsed the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Implementation Programme.

Hurunui District Councillors endorsed the zone implementation programme “as the basis for consideration of relevant work programmes and implications for the long-term plan and Hurunui District Plan”.

Environment Canterbury Commissioners endorsed the zone implementation programme “as the basis for the design and realignment of work programmes, for drafting regional plan provisions, and for preparation of a draft Long Term Plan”.

Mayor Winton Dalley, who is also a member of the zone committee, says arriving at the final ZIP has taken months of hard work and involved many challenges.

“Progressing the ZIP to this stage within almost impossible time frames has been a momentous achievement for the zone committee, and I am certain history will prove that they will have made a huge contribution towards securing sustainable land and water use for the benefit of future generations".

The Hurunui-Waiau ZIP is the first of 11 implementation programmes being prepared as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy,

It has been designed to provide an integrated approach to water management in the zone while achieving the desired social, environmental, cultural and economic outcomes and contains 66 recommendations to the two councils and other parties.

Developed collaboratively following extensive discussions and engagement with local community members, interest groups, stakeholder groups as well as the wider Canterbury community, Environment Canterbury Commissioner David Caygill says it represents a substantial contribution to water management in Canterbury.

“The Canterbury Water Management Strategy envisioned community-led creative solutions to water management issues/

 “I believe the zone committee, after more than a year of intensive effort, has achieved that and has produced a workable consensus on how to balance the competing needs for water in the Hurunui-Waiau zone.

"The ZIP addresses and allows for the first order priorities of the environment, customary use, community use and stock drinking water set out in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

"It also adequately provides for the second-order priorities including irrigation, renewable electricity, as well as recreation and amenity use."

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee facilitated five community meetings around the zone and one in Christchurch to update people on the draft ZIP and obtain feedback.

As a result there were 125 written responses to the draft document, ninety per cent of whom concentrated on three issues: land use and water quality; water storage; and minimum flows in the Hurunui and Waiau rivers.

David Eder, who chairs the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committe, says all issues raised were considered by the committee in reaching a consensus  on what should be included in the zone implementation programme.

“Our vision is for a thriving natural environment, healthy waterways, and a prospering district both economically and socially. We believe the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Implementation Programme provides the platform for achieving this vision.

"The Hurunui-Waiau ZIP has the unanimous support of the committee members and the process we have gone through represents a blueprint for the rest of the region and for the country.”

Going forward, he says, the committee recognises the need to work closely with land users to improve nutrient management in the zone.

“Improving nutrient management is a big challenge and will require farmers and others to change the way they operate."

Environment Canterbury is working on a new Hurunui-Waiau Regional Plan to give effect to recommendations in the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Implemention Programe.

This plan is expected to be formally notified by the end of September, ahead of the lifting on October 1 of the moratoria on consents for the Hurunui and Waiau rivers.

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee operates as a joint committee of Hurunui District Council and Environment Canterbury.


The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Implementation Programme contains five key principles:

• An integrated approach to water quantity, quality and land use.

• Collaborative community of interest management structures.

• A regulatory framework to enable integrated solutions.

• Major water storage to achieve integrated management.

• Kaitiakitanga is woven through.


There are key recommendations on:

• Ecosystem health, biodiversity and braided river characteristics

• Drinking water

• Kaitiakitanga

• Waiau River flows

• Hurunui River flows

• Waipara River flows

• Conway River / Tutae Putaputa flows

• Water allocation and water-use efficiency

• Water quality (including the need for nutrient load limits and community and land-user-led initiatives)

• Economic development and the provision of more water

• Recreation.


Copies of the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Implementation Programme can be viewed at:


For more information contact:

Lauren McKenzie

Communications Advisor

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 314 0024