More than two years of learning about South Canterbury’s Pareora
River and its communities comes to fruition in a week’s time
with the release of the Pareora River Plan.
“Significantly, this plan has the support of the wider community,
who have come together with a common goal of ensuring the river’s
future viability,” said Environment Canterbury commissioner
Peter Skelton. “It’s a momentous step forward.”
The review of the river’s flow and its resource allocation,
initiated by Environment Canterbury, was prompted by the fact
that the river had reached its environmental bottom line, he
“This is a good example of how we can go forward in Canterbury
in managing water. It emphasises the need for communities to
work together to achieve long-term, sustainable solutions without
the need for expensive litigation. It’s a very similar approach
to that being taken by the Canterbury Water Management Strategy,
where zone committees will be responsible for recommending ways
forward on environmental and development options.”
As the supply for half of Timaru District’s domestic and industrial
water supplies, historically a renowned trout fishery, source
of water for farmers and of significant value to tangata whenua,
the Pareora has many groups interested in its future.
“People need to sustain their livelihoods but they also acknowledge
the need to redress the environmental balance, biodiversity and
cultural values,” said Commissioner Skelton.
“A community advisory group was set up by Environment Canterbury
following a public meeting at the end of 2007 in the Southburn
Hall,” said Judith Earl-Goulet, resource care team leader at
Environment Canterbury’s Timaru office and steering group facilitator
“This included representatives of Te Runanga o Arowhenua, Forest
and Bird, Fish and Game, Timaru and Waimate District Councils,
local residents from throughout the catchment, irrigators and
“A steering group of 12 members, covering that diversity of
interests, then began the detailed work of considering technical
reports and water management options. This was an intensive and
collaborative process with everyone contributing to discussions
and recommendations and with communication back to the people
“There was agreement from group members that water allocation
in the Pareora catchment had to be addressed. At the end of the
day, a unanimous position was reached which involved concessions
from everyone. All parties have “given something” to the process,”
said Ms Earl-Goulet.
Essentially the following trade-off is being proposed:
• there is to be a cap on new consents
• there is to be a reduction in October and November of the
amount of water abstracted by irrigators and Timaru District
• Irrigators are to have greater access to flood flows, which
will encourage on-farm storage.
The review of the river’s flow regime is part of a wider programme
of flow and water allocation reviews throughout the region, under
Section 65 of the Resource Management Act. Flow plans can be
tailored to address catchment-specific issues and the needs of
the local community.
The Proposed Pareora Catchment Environmental Flow and Water Allocation
Regional Plan will be publicly notified on Saturday August 7.
It was approved by Council commissioners at today’s July monthly
meeting. Submissions on the Proposed Pareora Catchment Environmental
Flow and Water Allocation Regional Plan open on Saturday August
7 and close on Friday October 1.
Commissioner Skelton noted that the rules in the proposed plan
become legally effective as of August 7.
NB Media: There is a lot more detall on this in the council agenda: