Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010

Before its repeal, this Act was administered by: Ministry for the Environment
  • repealed
  • Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010: repealed, on the close of 13 October 2016, by section 6.

Schedule 1 Vision and principles of Canterbury Water Management Strategy—Strategic Framework, November 2009

ss 4, 6, 34, 50, 63

Part 1 Vision and principles


To enable present and future generations to gain the greatest social, economic, recreational and cultural benefits from our water resources within an environmentally sustainable framework.

Fundamental principles

Primary principles
1 Sustainable management
Water is a public resource which must be managed in accordance with sustainability principles and be consistent with the Resource Management and Local Government Acts.
2 Regional approach
  • The planning of natural water use is guided by the following:

    • first order priority considerations: the environment, customary uses, community supplies and stock water

    • second order priority considerations: irrigation, renewable electricity generation, recreation, tourism and amenity

  • A consistent regulatory approach to water is applied throughout the Canterbury region, recognising these principles

  • Both surface and groundwater are given equal importance

  • Further development of scientific knowledge of the region’s water resources and the impacts of climate change are given priority

  • The actual or potential cumulative effects the taking and using water can have on waterways are recognised and managed within defined standards

  • A cautious approach is taken when information is uncertain, unreliable, or inadequate

  • The need for efficient use of water in existing and new infrastructure is recognised

  • There is strong emphasis on the integration of water and land management including protection of indigenous biodiversity and enhancement of water quality

  • Current and potential effects of land use intensification is an integral part of decision-making on water takes. This may mean amending regional and district plans.

3 Kaitiakitanga
  • The exercise of kaitiakitanga by Ngai Tahu applies to all water and lakes, rivers, hapua, waterways and wetlands, and shall be carried out in accordance with tikanga Maori.

Supporting principles
4 Natural character

The natural character (mauri1) of Canterbury’s rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater and wetlands is preserved and enhanced:

  • natural flow regimes of rivers are maintained and, where they have been adversely affected by takes, enhanced where possible

  • the dynamic processes of Canterbury’s braided rivers define their character and are protected

  • environmental flow regimes are established for every waterway where abstraction occurs

  • that restoration of natural character and biodiversity, is a priority for degraded waterways, particularly lowland streams and lowland catchments

  • the interdependence of waterways and coastal ecosystems is recognised.

5 Indigenous biodiversity
  • Indigenous flora and fauna and their habitats in rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater and wetlands are protected and valued.

  • The aims of the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy are recognised and supported.

6 Access
  • Public access to and along rivers, lakes, waterways and wetlands is maintained and, where appropriate, enhanced. Access may need to be limited in situations including where environmental risk, public safety, security of assets, cultural values, biodiversity and farm management require.

7 Quality drinking water
  • All those living in Canterbury have access to high quality drinking water:

  • The region’s high quality aquifer-sourced drinking water is protected.

  • Where Canterbury’s drinking water is currently untreated and safe for drinking, it is maintained at that high standard.

8 Recreational and amenity opportunities
  • Rivers, lakes, groundwater and wetlands provide opportunities for enjoyment, recreation and tourism:

  • High quality water ensures contact recreation such as swimming, fishing, boating and other water sports are able to be enjoyed throughout Canterbury.

  • Adequate environmental flows should ensure that recreational users and tourists can enjoy Canterbury rivers.

  • Eco-tourism opportunities are recognised and encouraged.

9 Community and commercial use

Water resources are used sustainably to enhance quality of life:

  • where water is abstracted, it is used effectively and efficiently:

  • land use, industry, and business practices to not adversely impact on natural water quality:

  • discharges to waterways are minimised and do not compromise quality:

  • land use practices are monitored and best practice approaches are required:

  • agricultural stock is excluded from all waterways in catchments where irrigated farming is practised and all lowland streams:

  • where acclimatised wildlife in lowland streams cause contamination, they are appropriately managed:

  • degraded waahi taonga are enhanced to restore tangata whenua cultural wellbeing.

Part 2 Status and preparation of Canterbury Water Management Strategy—Strategic Framework November 2009


The vision and principles of the CWMS, as set out in Part 1, are reproduced from the Canterbury Water Management Strategy—Strategic Framework, November 2009 (CWMS).


The preparation of the CWMS was supervised by a multi-stakeholder Steering Group under the overall leadership of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.


The membership of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and of the Steering Group is set out in Annex A of the CWMS.

1 Mauri—the life force. In the environment, mauri is used to describe the intrinsic values of all resources and of the total ecosystem.