Moratorium on second North Canterbury river hailed as wise move

The Hurunui District Council is hailing a moratorium on the Waiau River as a wise move and in the best interests of the long term management of the area’s water resources.

The moratorium on new water use consents, imposed by Canterbury Regional Council Commissioners, brings the Waiau into line with the same restrictions as the Hurunui River.

Hurunui Mayor, Winton Dalley says the Waiau is an important water resource which could play a significant role in the management of the Hurunui-Waiau water zone, and given the moratorium in place already on the Hurunui, “it is logical to widen it to include the Waiau.”

Though he appreciates the move may not please everyone.

“There may be some people with consents in the pipeline who feel disadvantaged in the short term and frustrated by the moratorium, but we need to look to what is in the best interests of the community and the resource into the future.

“Delaying any consideration new consents to take, dam, divert or use water on either river until October next year will provide the time and opportunity to properly pull together a long term sustainable plan to govern the provision of water across the whole district.”

The Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee is currently working on this task.

There are 18 consent applications to take water currently lodged with Environment Canterbury, of which only one is likely to be granted before the moratorium, which applies to the entire River and connected groundwater, takes effect.

It will not impact on takes for reasonable domestic needs, animal’s drinking, water or fire fighting purposes.

It’s the second use of special powers granted to the seven Government- appointed commissioners by the same legislation rushed through Parliament which removed the regional council’s councillors.

A similar moratorium was placed on the Hurunui River in July this year.

The Waiau River is one of the seven major alpine rivers within the Canterbury region and the largest water source within the Hurunui-Waiau Water Management Zone.

The storage of water from these alpine rivers underlies the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It is seen as the key to improving environmental flows, addressing groundwater over-allocation, incentivisng efficiency and land management improvements, and providing a new more reliable source of water for irrigation.

For further information contact:

Winton Dalley


03 314 0011


Lauren McKenzie

Communications Co-ordinator

Hurunui District Council

02 314 0024