The Selwyn Waihora catchment: A triumph for collaborative management?
The Selwyn River (Waikirikiri) flows into Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora) which, at 20,000 ha surface area, is New Zealand’s fifth largest lake and its largest lagoonal lake. Although a third of the lake and parts of the catchment lie within Christchurch City boundaries (since the demise of Banks Peninsula District Council) the lake and catchment largely lie within Selwyn District Council. Selwyn is the fastest growing district in New Zealand, is home to the ambitious Central Plains Water project and is experiencing rapidly expanding dairy farming. Fresh water resources in this area are under considerable pressure and generally over-allocated, and the water is perceived as being highly polluted. The lake, a taonga of Ngai Tahu and a wetland of international importance, has recently been the subject of both a change to its 1990 Water Conservation Order and a subsequent consent hearing on its key direct management measure; the regime for artificially opening the lake to the sea. Here, I describe the main points of the new planning developments and discuss some of the issues that will be interesting for the courts and resource managers over coming months.... [Show full abstract]