Canterbury Strategic Water Study: Stage 4

Prior stages of the Canterbury Strategic Water Study had not investigated the extent to which use of Lake Coleridge as Ashburton District’s source of stored water would avoid needing to build new storage in that District.

 The objectives of this project were therefore to determine:

  • The role LakeColeridge could play in helping to reliably meet long-term water needs south of the RakaiaRiver.
  • The hydrological balance between meeting abstractive needs by pumping groundwater and by using surface water backed up by storage.
  • The extent to which efficiency gains and reallocation of consents (water swaps) affect the volume of storage required to meet long-term water needs, using Ashburton District as a case study.
  • What a water infrastructure strategy that is hydrologically optimised to minimise the amount of new water storage required to meet long-term water demand might look like.

The overall goal of the project could be summed up as determining how to meet reasonable long-term water needs with the minimum amount of new major water storage development. The scope of the study was limited to water quantity matters.  It is acknowledged that the intensification of land-use that drives demands for water also raises the risks of water quality degradation in a wide variety of ways, both urban and rural.  Sizing and managing these risks first requires an understanding of the nature and scale of water flows that would result from the operation of bulk water supply infrastructure.  This project provided information on the nature and scale of the water flows.  A parallel project undertook a preliminary investigation of the potential impacts of intensification on nitrates in groundwater.

Contact person: John Bright

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