Christchurch City urban residents enjoy some of the best drinking water in the world.

Coming from the aquifers beneath the city, our high quality groundwater generally requires no treatment to meet New Zealand Drinking Water Standards and pumping costs are low, making the cost very reasonable in comparison to other cities.

In contrast to Christchurch's urban water supply, many Banks Peninsula water supplies are sourced from surface water. These supplies are of variable quality and require treatment. Low stream flows and high consumer demand during dry weather make these supplies less reliable and subject to water restrictions.

Water Supply Strategy 2009-2039


Issues

  • The water supply is finite. Christchurch's aquifer system has limits – we can’t just keep taking more water forever.
  • Demand for water continues to grow. Population growth means more people wanting more water.
  • Alternative water sources are limited. If we need more water, the options are few and are likely to be expensive, and we’ll have to compete for them against other users.
  • Contamination risk. Christchurch water is currently of a very high quality, but intensified land-use and new development may increase the risk of groundwater contamination.
  • Service standards for water supply (quality, flow, pressure, and maintenance response times) vary within Christchurch, and between urban and rural areas. What’s acceptable and affordable for our communities?
  • Is our water undervalued? People pay a lot of money for pure, untreated water – we pay very little. Should we put more resources into protecting the water we have and using it efficiently?
  • We’re wasting our water. Many cities use less water per person than Christchurch, so we need to learn to reduce consumption and conserve our water.

Stakeholder feedback:

  • Water saving methods: explore all opportunities, such as rain tanks, dual systems for grey water re-use and monitor the effectiveness of schemes
  • Metering is important and seen as inevitable: explore charging methods that are linked to water use and promote other approaches for saving water
  • Serious risk of groundwater contamination: emphasise risks and impacts of groundwater contamination
  • Council role as educator and information provider: involve community at all levels (at home, at work) and work in partnership with schools, community groups, plumbing suppliers
  • “Work with what we’ve got”: avoid the need for additional sources of water supply, such as the Waimakariri River
  • Coordination needed between other water strategies: Surface and ground water networks are closely linked.