Water use under the microscope

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 12/08/2012

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How Canterbury's water is being used must change if the region wants to improve its water quality, Environment Canterbury (ECan) says.

ECan commissioner David Caygill said the region's water quality needed to be addressed to protect Canterbury's environment and boost its economy.

ECan's proposed land and water plan, which will be available to the public from tomorrow, outlines how land and water will be managed.

Caygill said the "most significant" issue was the level of nitrates in Canterbury's waterways, which would involve looking at what the land next to the waterways was being used for.

"It certainly means we can't keep doing what we have been doing," Caygill said. "It undoubtedly means that we will have to change farming practices."

He said there had been an "over-allocation" of water in some parts of Canterbury.

ECan commissioner Peter Skelton said the plan would help Canterbury meet its Canterbury Water Management Strategy targets and community aims for water management.

"The plan is aimed at the most challenging areas for Canterbury's long-term economic and environmental success, particularly water quality," he said.

In the next few years, ECan expects the 10 water zone committees to create a "comprehensive set of rules" for their catchment area.

These rules would override the proposed land and water plan, Skelton said.

The proposed plan replaces most of the natural resources regional plan.

Public submissions on the plan will be open from tomorrow until October 5, and a hearing on the plan is expected in the middle of next year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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