New committee for water management

A new and innovative way to manage water in the lower Waitaki catchment and Waimate district could be in operation by the end of the year under the Canterbury water management strategy.

The initiative involves setting up a lower Waitaki-south coastal zone committee as a joint committee of Environment Canterbury (ECan), the Waitaki and Waimate district councils, to involve the community in managing water resources in the two districts, including the lower Waitaki catchment below the Waitaki dam.

ECan's seven commissioners gave approval on Thursday to establish the zone committee, one of 10 throughout Canterbury, which will report to a regional committee.

The next step will be for the two district councils to appoint a representative to the zone committee and two representatives each to a working group who will appoint other members.

Waitaki is recommending the Ahuriri ward councillor, Struan Munro.

Expressions of interest in serving as community representatives on the zone committee will be called from July 5, closing on August 13.

The four to six community representatives are expected to bring a range of various and relevant interest and experience to the zone committee and should have a strong local connection with the area.

In addition, a representative will be appointed each by ECan and Ngai Tahu runanga.

Committee members will be paid $2000 a year honorarium, the deputy chairperson $3000, and chairperson $5000.

During that period, public meetings will be organised to explain the role of the zone committee.

The working group is expected to recommend who the community representatives should be by the end of September.

Successful candidates would be notified and would undergo an orientation workshop in early to mid-October.

The Canterbury water management strategy was prepared by the Canterbury mayoral forum, headed by Ashburton Mayor Bede O'Malley, in conjunction with groups having an interest in management of the region's freshwater resources.

The strategy was adopted and funded by the ECan regional council.

It was supported by the Government when it appointed seven commissioners in April after sacking the 14 ECan councillors.


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