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Amenity values of spring fed streams and rivers in Canterbury: a methodological exploration

Kerr, Geoffrey N.
Swaffield, Simon R.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::0502 Environmental Science and Management
Groundwater allocation decisions have effects beyond the enterprises and land uses for which water is used. They may influence the quantity, quality and flow of spring fed streams within the catchment, and the in-stream values such as biodiversity, fishing, and recreation. Changes to the streams themselves in turn shape the character and values of the wider stream corridor and the surrounding landscape. Human use and occupation of the land has always changed the character of streams and rivers- that is not new- but the scale of current demands for groundwater, and the speed of land use change based upon groundwater use, set challenges and questions for the way in which spring fed streams and rivers will change in the future. The Sustainable Groundwater Allocation Research (SUGAR) funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology is aimed at improving knowledge of the relationships between the flow regime of spring fed streams and rivers and its effects, and the development and testing of an improved process of decision making about groundwater allocation. This report presents results from Objective 4 of the SUGAR project, which was aimed at developing a method to help stakeholders in groundwater management to visualize and then weigh the landscape consequences of different water allocation regimes. It focused specifically upon improving understanding of the way people trade off different amenity outcomes of allocation decisions.