Guest post by James Tricker, Principle Extension Services Officer, Environment Canterbury
There are increasing expectations, both within the Canterbury community and also within a national context, that the relation between water allocation and water use is more strongly understood. The Environment Canterbury Water Use Report presents the information gathered on consented water use in Canterbury between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011.
The Canterbury Water Management Strategy sets targets for improved water efficiency and irrigation, as well as targets for better environmental and cultural outcomes resulting from more water in rivers and better water quality. Agriculture and horticulture are the primary uses for water in Canterbury, accounting for around 90% of consented water use.
Within the Canterbury region there were 5,179 consents to take groundwater in the study period. The groundwater allocation for all of these consents amounted to 39,222,849 cubic metres per day, and was taken from 7,022 wells, of which 33.7% were equipped with water measuring devices. The surface water allocation within the region was taken at 1,337 surface water abstraction points, of which 19.7% were equipped with water measuring systems.
Water takes with an abstraction rate of 20 litres per second or more are required to be equipped to measure and report on water use by 10 November 2012. By the end of the 2010/11 water year, of all takes in Canterbury 20 litres per second or more, 43.1% of the groundwater wells were metered and 23.7% of surface water abstraction points were metered. If all water takes, with an abstraction rate 20 litres per second or more, are equipped to measure and report on water use by 10 November 2012, this will account for 97.4% of all daily allocated groundwater, and 99.3% of all daily allocated surface water.
These data showed that 52.4% of the allocated groundwater was used during the 2010/11 water year, although this figure is based on 11.4% of the groundwater takes in the region.
The data also show that 49.8% of the allocated surface water was used during the 2010/11 water year, although this figure is based on 7.1% of the surface water takes in the region. Of the 264 metered surface water takes, 95 provided use data that could be used in this report.
These data highlight the need for consent holders to install water measuring systems and to ensure they are working properly. Having reliable and widespread information about actual use will allow Environment Canterbury to better manage and allocate the huge freshwater resource.
Within the Water Use Report there is an update for each of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy zones on the progress towards installing water measuring devices and actual water use. It is anticipated that this information will be used by the zone committees as they formulate programmes and ultimately will be reflected in river and catchment plans, and Environment Canterbury’s regional land and water management plan.
For more information see: