Waterways

Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are characterised by a network of waterways.

These range from large lakes to narrow tributaries with intermittent flows, including:

  • Lake Forsyth/Te Roto o Wairewa and part of Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora, as well as a number of smaller lakes
  • About 78 kilometres of rivers, including the Avon/Ōtakaro River, Heathcote/Opāwaho River, Styx/Puharakekenui River, and part of the Waimakariri River and Halswell/Huritini River, as well as a number of rivers on Banks Peninsula
  • About 2605 kilometres of river tributaries and other smaller streams (many of them ephemeral).

Enhancing our waterways

Improving the quality of our waterways is a goal of our community and is a priority for the Council. It’s also a requirement of the Council's Comprehensive Stormwater Network Discharge Consent (CRC214226).

It can't be achieved by stormwater treatment approaches alone so we are proposing a behaviour change programme on educating, engaging and empowering communities to help stop contaminants getting into stormwater. This programme will be delivered through a Community Waterways Partnership.

Before we can develop the behaviour change programme the first steps are to identify and understand what motivates people, the barriers to people taking action and the emotional triggers that prompt change. This will be critical for prioritising effort, funding and knowing when the programme is achieving its aims.

To achieve this, in 2018 we undertook a survey to identify and understand how affiliated people were with their local waterways. More than 400 people took part in our survey, and the results show how much the community cares about the health of waterways. The vast majority of people (about 90%) think our waterways are natural assets and 75% describe them as taonga (treasure).

Nearly 60% of people said our waterways were in poor or very poor health, while 55% of respondents said they knew where stormwater went once it entered the drain network.

The full report can be viewed here 2018 Global Research Christchurch Waterways Survey Final Report [PDF, 1.1 MB]