Te Wai Ora o Tāne Draft Integrated Water Strategy

We asked for your feedback on an integrated water strategy for Ōtautahi Christchurch and Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula. The draft strategy covers Christchurch's water supply, wastewater, and stormwater. Consultation has now closed.

Project status: Decision made
Open for feedback: 14 June 2019 to 21 July 2019

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Consultation has now closed


Consultation on the Integrated Water Strategy has now closed. People were able to provide feedback from Friday 14 June 2019 to Sunday 21 July 2019.

During this time we heard from 35 individuals and groups. You can read their feedback(external link) (refer to 12 August 2019, Hearings Panel agenda pages 131 - 275). The Council received the Hearing Panel recommendation and made a decision(external link) on Tuesday 24 September 2019.


Why do we need an integrated water strategy?


Te Roto o Wairewa Lake Forsyth – Kelvin McMillan

Our water services are a big part of what we do as a council. They make up a quarter of our expected spending over the next 10 years, with up to $10 billion budgeted in our Long Term Plan.

We take care of three main water services (the ‘three waters’) – water supply, wastewater, and stormwater – as well as the water infrastructure throughout the Christchurch district. Our waterways and coastal waters also form a major part of the landscape and lives of the community.

We need an Integrated Water Strategy to consider all of these different water resources, values and demands, and to set a framework to help us manage them over the next 100 years and beyond.

To help meet our responsibilities around water, we work with the community, Ngāi Tahu, and with Environment Canterbury, which is responsible for deciding who can take water and for protecting water at its source.

View the Draft Integrated Water Strategy

The vision for our Integrated Water Strategy:
Te wai ora o Tāne Water for Life

We want to make sure our district’s water services, infrastructure and water taonga (treasure) are managed in a way that supports the environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of current and future generations.

Valuing water and water services for people and the environment

Four key goals are identified in the draft strategy:

Goal 1: The multiple uses of water are valued by all for the benefit of all.

Goal 2: Water quality and ecosystems are protected and enhanced.

Goal 3: The effects of flooding, climate change and sea-level rise are understood, and the community is assisted to adapt to them.

Goal 4: Water is managed in a sustainable and integrated way in line with the principle of kaitiakitanga.

The draft strategy’s guiding principles are:

Te Waihora sunset - Kelvin McMillan

  • Kaitiakitanga
  • Integration
  • Longevity
  • Touchstone
  • Place-making
  • Flood management
  • International best practice
  • Efficiency

The draft strategy addresses the following key issues:

Different perceptions of the ‘value’ of the waters

Understanding the multiple uses and values of water is essential for driving change. If all uses of water are understood and valued, particularly surface waterways and sources of drinking water, this will allow the draft strategy’s vision to be achieved. 

Poor state of waterways

Good waterway health (i.e. water quality and environment) is needed for the protection of public health and safety, to safeguard the life-supporting value and ecosystems of surface water bodies, and to recognise Māori cultural values.

Vulnerability of Christchurch’s groundwater source to contamination

Sign near Akaroa wastewater outfall

The availability of high-quality groundwater for public drinking water supply is an extremely valuable natural resource for our district, and potentially significant health, economic and environmental effects could result if groundwater is not appropriately protected.

Wastewater overflows and effects on surface water

Wastewater network overflows can negatively affect the water quality and ecology of waterways, could cause a public health risk, and are culturally unacceptable.

Treated wastewater discharges into Akaroa Harbour

Discharging treated wastewater to the harbour is offensive to members of the community. The discharge is particularly offensive to Ōnuku Rūnanga, whose preference is for the treated wastewater to be taken out of the harbour and irrigated onto land.

Stormwater discharges and effects on surface water

Ongoing management of stormwater is essential to protect our groundwater and surface water resources. However, stormwater treatment can be expensive and complex, particularly in already developed areas where retrofitting is the only feasible option. Avoiding or reducing contamination at the source is preferred over treatment.

Flooding and flood management

Flooding ranges from nuisance flooding such as on roads or private property, which may limit access or cause inconvenience, to flood water affecting infrastructure, homes and businesses, causing significant damage or threatening lives.

Responding/adapting to the anticipated effects of sea-level rise

Sea-level rise and coastal erosion will pose a risk to water services infrastructure in coastal areas in Christchurch. Wastewater pipelines, pump stations and other critical infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas could be affected by sea-level rise.

Long-term availability of water for water supply

Access to high-quality drinking water is important and such water should be used appropriately to ensure the long-term availability of our current water sources, to support guardianship of those sources particularly in light of climate change.

Long-term sustainable wastewater treatment and disposal

We need to develop long-term wastewater treatment and disposal solutions that can keep up with future growth, while balancing the costs against community and cultural concerns and environmental effects.

Infrastructure efficiency and resilience

In addition to earthquake damage, there is an approaching ‘wave’ of aging pipes and associated infrastructure that need upgrading due to historic city growth patterns, meaning long lengths of pipes need work over a similar time period.

The draft strategy suggests a number of ways we can sustainably manage our water resources, including:

Objective 1

Awareness and engagement – Increase awareness and engage with the community and mana whenua about the multiple uses and values of water.

Objective 2

Efficient and resilient infrastructure – Ensure efficient use of ‘three waters’ infrastructure and the resilience of entire networks (including natural waterbodies) over the long term, by repairing or replacing infrastructure in good time and seeking better options, where possible.

Objective 3

Enhancement of ecological, cultural and natural values – Enhance the ecological, cultural and natural values (including amenity, recreation, customary use, heritage and landscape) of the waterways in Christchurch (including Banks Peninsula).

Objective 4

Water quality improvement – Improve the quality of surface water to protect ecosystem health and provide for contact recreation (e.g. wading, boating), food gathering, mahinga kai and cultural values.

Objective 5

Wastewater overflows management – Reduce and work towards eliminating the effects of wastewater overflows.

Objective 6

Tay Street Drain #1 check valves, part of Flockton Basin flood mitigation work

Flood risk – Understand the likely extent and effects of flooding, and the risk posed by flooding.

Objective 7

Flood management and adaptation – Manage and adapt to the effects of flooding using natural systems, planning tools, community adaptation and infrastructure solutions.

Objective 8

Sustainable wastewater systems – Manage the effects of the wastewater systems to meet community needs for environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability over the long term.

Objective 9

Groundwater protection – Advance source protection of groundwater recharge areas and surface water supply sources for all drinking water.

Objective 10

Improvement in understanding of aquifer system – Understand the vulnerability, transit times and extent of confining layers of the Christchurch aquifers as well as the link to surface water quantity and quality.

Objective 11

Sustainable water supply – Manage the water sources for drinking water to meet the forecast, reasonable long-term demand, and ensure efficient use and demonstrably safe drinking water without the need for residual disinfection (e.g. chlorination).

Information sessions

Come along any time to talk to us about the draft strategy.

Location Date and time
Central City
Tūranga Central Library
60 Cathedral Square
Tuesday 25 June
New Brighton
New Brighton Board Room
Corner Beresford and Union Street
Tuesday 25 June
Beckenham Service Centre Board Room 
66 Colombo Street
Wednesday 26 June
Banks Peninsula
Duvauchelle Hall
6039 Christchurch Akaroa Road
Saturday 29 June
Belfast School
700 Main North Road

Wednesday 3 July

Upper Riccarton Library
71 Main South Road
Thursday 4 July
Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Community Centre
Bishopdale Shopping Centre
Monday 8 July
Woolston Community Library 
689 Ferry Road
Tuesday 9 July

We would like your feedback on how best to meet current and future challenges for Christchurch’s ‘three waters’ (water supply, wastewater, and stormwater).

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How the decision is made

  • Decision made