CIF Project Summary: Canterbury Water Management Strategy

Project 1: Supply-side facilitation

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

Grant No: 11/02

Last updated: November 2012

Contact details

Grantee: Canterbury Regional Council
Contact Person: Project 1: Geoff Henley; Project 2: Brett Painter
Address: Environment Canterbury, c/- 27 Nazareth Avenue, Middleton, Christchurch 8024
Telephone: Geoff Henley 04 460 6610
Brett Painter 027 837 7119
Email: geoff.henley@networkpr.co.nz
brett.painter@ecan.govt.nz

Project details

Status: In progress
CIF funding: $160,000
Total project funding: $320,000
Proposed start date: 2011-07
Proposed finish date: 2012-06
Region: Canterbury
Related website links: www.canterbury.org.nz
Other links:    

Project description

Project 1: Supply-side facilitation

The project aims to facilitate the development of irrigation projects in the Canterbury region in line with the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Based on the emerging work of the Zone and Regional Water Management Committees, this project will assist and encourage the development of water management projects that take account of agricultural/development environmental, recreational and cultural priorities related to agricultural water.
Specifically the project will involve:

  • assistance with the identification and selection of irrigation projects;
  • facilitating the development of water and hydroelectricity supply and use options that assist delivery of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy Principles and Targets;
  • assistance with the assessment of what is required to develop them;
  • advice on development issues such as governance; and
  • alignment with the CWMS and the Zone Implementation Programmes.

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

The project aims to improve water infrastructure design and management in Canterbury by:

  • analysing current and potential water supply and demand options;
  • analysing potential efficiency gains in water and hydroelectricity (supply and use);
  • creating a computer model to enable consideration of Canterbury-wide water management efficiency and integration possibilities; and
  • implementing the outcomes into policy and operations.

The issue/opportunity

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) was published in November 2009 by Environment Canterbury under the auspices of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum. The CWMS includes a network of Zone Water Management Committees that are beginning to produce Zone Implementation Programmes, which are documents that outline how water development could proceed in a zone.  A regional committee takes a regional perspective. There is also a well developed set of targets for the CWMS within which all future development has to operate.

These governance arrangements, which are developing rapidly, are beginning to define the demand for water and the environmental, social and cultural context around it. They beg the question as to where the water is going to come from and through what arrangements. A large number of existing schemes, many farmer-owned are currently supplying water, but schemes of the future because of their potential size and the complexity of external requirements, will likely require external investment and sophisticated governance as a result. The supply-side facilitation project will address these challenges and assist with development of adequate structures and processes to successfully manage the water requirements of the future.

A key challenge of the CWMS has been, from its inception, to achieve gains in the efficiency of water use to minimise the cost of infrastructure to store and distribute water. The strategy also requires the most effective use of water to assist in achieving environmental goals. Efficiency stretches from storage, through distribution, all the way and onto the farm. Energy efficiency is also an important consideration not only includes the efficient use of water for irrigation and generation, but the minimisation of energy use in the distribution and use of water (e.g., pumping and distribution costs). The "Development of a regional reticulation concept project" will investigate these issues.

The context/background

Canterbury has by far the largest amount of irrigated land area in New Zealand and has significant potential for a lot more – perhaps as much as another 500,000ha.  The scale of the irrigation requirement and potential makes Canterbury a leader in this field.  What is pioneered in Canterbury has implications throughout the country.

In the last decade, pressure on Canterbury’s water resource has increased significantly and with it has emerged a highly adversarial approach to allocation and management, infrastructure provision, and related land management practices which has exacerbated the situation and led to sub-optimal outcomes. Implementation of the CWMS is demonstrating that there is a better way forward, based on collaboration and integrated management that will maximise the opportunities for the environment, economy and community of Canterbury in the years ahead.  The requirement is for methods of allocation and development of this resource that recognises competing demands and manages them effectively.  This requires an active and even-handed stakeholder approach which is able to grapple with these competing claims on water and achieve win/win solutions.

Integrated infrastructure design and management will benefit from these projects as they:

  • engage and align stakeholders and assist the search for optimal solutions that work for all stakeholders; and.
  • collate relevant information into a system dynamics model which will assist with understanding the consequences of design and management decisions.
  • While the specific focus of these projects is the Canterbury region, the modelling approach and outputs can be translated for application in other parts of New Zealand.

Methods

Project 1: Supply-side facilitation

  1. Provide advice and assistance to Zone Committees and the Regional Committee on supply-side development.
  2. Assist particular zone areas with selection of schemes, particularly where there are competing options.
  3. Facilitate synergies between schemes and between storage and reticulation projects.
  4. Collate water infrastructure and management information for all current and potential water supply and distribution schemes relevant to the CWMS. This information includes the potential effects on water bodies under future climate scenarios.

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

  1. Collate water infrastructure and management information for all current and potential water supply and distribution schemes relevant to the CWMS. This information includes the potential effects on water bodies under future climate scenarios.
  2. Translate the above information into the form required by a high level system dynamics model.
  3. Create and test the system dynamics model.
  4. Design and run model scenarios in collaboration with CWMS stakeholders. Provide expert analysis of model outputs and expert advice on their institutional implications.

Project Update: February 2013

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

A highly skilled team from New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A. was contracted to address the challenges of developing an integrated regional water distribution approach for Canterbury, which will enable analysis of water infrastructure options and efficiency improvements. The approach includes development of a system dynamics computer model (the Regional Distribution Model) which draws on available data sets as well as outputs from more detailed computer models.

The first version of the Regional Distribution Model (RDM) covered the area from the Eyre River groundwater zone (north of the Waimakariri River) to the Orari-Opihi groundwater zone (south of the Rangitata River). This area was prioritized by the project steering group based on information availability and degree of development pressure. This model is complete and has been presented to Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) committees, local and national government staff and industry experts. It has also been used to explore different infrastructure development scenarios with key stakeholders and their contractors, including comparison with other computer models. This approach has confirmed the sensitivity of water systems to scheme reliability requirements, efficiency improvements (distribution and use), the re-distribution of allocations (run-of-river, groundwater and stored water), and the effects of potential future climate scenarios.

The second version of the Regional Distribution Model (RDM) covers an extended area from the Ashley River (north of the Waimakariri River) to the Pareora River (south of Timaru). This required the development of two new detailed computer models (named Raindrop and Rata) and the incorporation of their irrigation demand statistics into the expanded RDM model. These models are complete and being used to support infrastructure planning discussions with CWMS committees and other stakeholders. The RDM is also currently being used alongside a new detailed computer model (created by ECan) for sub-regional planning processes in mid Canterbury.

The final part of this project involved Australian experts in institutional and legal aspects of water management analyzing challenges and opportunities in Canterbury in the light of their Australian experiences. Key recommendations include:

  • The methods and funding of consent re-distribution to improve supply reliability through a mix of run-of-river, groundwater and stored water;
  • Determination and implementation of improved water efficiency measures;
  • Considering water pricing mechanisms to drive efficiency improvement uptake;
  • Improving water quality associated with irrigation through riparian and nutrient management controls;

These recommendations were an important input into CIF Project 11/02A, which developed a supply-side water management framework for Canterbury to assist implementation of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (2009).


Project Update: October 2012

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

The first version of the Regional Distribution Model (RDM) covers the area from the Eyre River groundwater zone (north of the Waimakariri River) to the Orari-Opihi groundwater zone (south of the Rangitata River). This area was prioritized by the project steering group based on information availability and degree of development pressure. This model is complete and has been presented to CWMS committees, local and national government staff and industry experts. It has also been used to explore different infrastructure development scenarios with key stakeholders and their contractors, including comparison with other computer models. This approach has confirmed the sensitivity of water systems to scheme reliability requirements, efficiency improvements (distribution and use), the re-distribution of allocations (run-of-river, groundwater and stored water), and the effects of potential future climate scenarios.

Expansion of the RDM north to the Ashley River and south to the Pareora River is now underway. This requires the development of two new detailed computer models and the incorporation of their irrigation demand statistics into the expanded RDM model. This work is underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Once model verification and validation is complete, the expanded RDM and the detailed models will be used for different aspects of infrastructure planning. The RDM is also under consideration for accelerating sub-regional planning processes in Canterbury to address effects of irrigation development on water systems while additional detailed computer models are being developed.

Project Update:  June 2012

Project 1: Supply - side facilitation

Facilitation of supply-side activity in Canterbury has, and continues to be, a complex challenge. The decision to build schemes on a largely commercial basis means that they are subject to extensive discussion and negotiation. It is to be hoped that this will lead to more sustainable solutions.

This reporting period has been characterised by:

  • Introduction and in depth consideration of the node approach to managing supply-side development
  • Consideration of each of the projects in the area one by one whilst at the same time taking a whole-of-system perspective
  • Bringing parties together to negotiate linkages and efficiencies
  • Working through the financial implications of these approaches and development plans that move projects forward within the resources available.

In behind this work has been a range of strategic and policy thinking. In this regard the following has been undertaken:

  • Commercialisation processes for projects, notably Raindrop, but with broader applicability
  • Finalisation of the draft Framework which evaluates the macro issues in behind these developments and explores operational solutions
  • Further development of the Aggregated Consent Entity concept (ACEs) which is contained in the Framework
  • Development of a methodology for assessing demand which has become a key point in building confidence in schemes from investors

ECan has a team of four working on supply-side matters with close connection with irrigation scheme boards and managers, farmer groups and other interested parties. There is also close liaison with the zone committees who, with the completion of their ZIPs are in a stronger position to consider the options in each of their areas.

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

A highly skilled team from New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A. has been contracted to address the challenges of developing an integrated regional water distribution approach for Canterbury, which will enable analysis of water infrastructure options and efficiency improvements. The approach includes development of a system dynamics computer model (the Regional Distribution Model) which draws on available data sets as well as outputs from more detailed existing computer models.

The first version of the Regional Distribution Model (RDM) covers the area from the Eyre River groundwater zone (north of the Waimakariri River) to the Orari-Opihi groundwater zone (south of the Rangitata River). This area was prioritized by the project steering group based on available information and degree of development pressure. This model has been delivered and is currently undergoing testing with the assistance of project steering group members, CWMS committees and industry experts. Once it is validated it will be used to explore different infrastructure development scenarios with key stakeholders.

In order to expand the RDM north to the Ashley River and south to the Pareora River, two new detailed computer models for these sub-areas need to be completed. This work is underway as part of an extension to this CIF project. Once the detailed models are completed, system approximations of these models will be incorporated into the RDM. The detailed models and RDM will then be used for different aspects of investigations into a variety of development scenarios.

The final part of this project involved Australian experts in institutional and legal aspects of water management analyzing challenges and opportunities in Canterbury in the light of their Australian experiences. Key recommendations include:

  • The methods and funding of consent re-distribution to improve supply reliability through a mix of run-of-river, groundwater and stored water;
  • Determination and implementation of improved water efficiency measures;
  • Considering water pricing mechanisms to drive efficiency improvement uptake;
  • Improving water quality associated with irrigation through riparian and nutrient management controls;

These recommendations were an important input into CIF Project 11/02A, which is developing a supply-side water management strategy for Canterbury. This strategy details supply-side implementation of relevant sections of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (2009).


Project Update:  February 2012

Project 1: Supply side facilitation

The advancement of the supply-side activity in Canterbury has been characterised by three milestones:

  • Release of the Waitohi Selection Report from the Panel

Development of a stylised "map" of Canterbury identifying four key nodes which are fundamental to the distribution of water in the region and particularly the strategic distribution such as moving water north to south

  • Release of the Regional Implementation Programme

In behind these releases has been a great deal of thinking and planning.  In this regard the following has been undertaken:

  • Facilitation towards formal feasibility on three projects in the region
  • Consideration of the linkages between these schemes
  • Development work on a supply-side framework document considering such issues as farmer entities, supply entities, water exchange, commercialisation and governance

ECan has a team of four working on supply-side matters with close connection with irrigation scheme boards and managers, farmer groups and other interested parties.  There is also close liaison with the zone committees who, with the completion of their Zone Implementation Programmes are in a stronger position to consider the options in each of their areas.

Project 2: Development of a regional reticulation concept - water distribution efficiency

A highly skilled team from New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A. has been contracted to address the challenges of developing an integrated regional water distribution approach for Canterbury, which will enable analysis of water infrastructure options and efficiency improvements. The approach includes development of a high level system dynamics computer model which draws on available data sets as well as outputs from more detailed existing computer models.

Progress has been rapid since the project began in early September, with particular attention to confirming the model structure and information requirements. Developers of new water infrastructure options are now creating the required information sets in parallel to this process. The project steering group has prioritized the central Canterbury region for model development and testing to enable it to inform current water infrastructure initiatives. An initial version of the computer model plus documentation has been received and a meeting with the project steering group is being arranged. This model and associated datasets includes current infrastructure in the central Canterbury region. Once the model has been validated using the expertise of the project steering group and Canterbury Water Management Strategy working groups it will be used to explore different infrastructure development scenarios with key stakeholders.

The subcontracted Australian experts in institutional and legal aspects of water management have also toured key parts of the region and met with water users, managers and scientists. They have delivered their draft report on institutional change challenges and opportunities. Discussions are now underway to link this piece of work with the findings of CIF Project 11/02(1)


Project Update: October 2011

Project 1:

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) is advancing rapidly on the demand side. This involves the formation of 10 Zone Water Management committees that are all now underway. One has completed its first work stream and published its final Zone Implementation Programme (ZIP). This is Hurunui-Waiau and several others are in an advanced stage of preparation.

ECan anticipated the situation these developments would produce which is the need to answer the question of "where is the water going to come from?" Accordingly, ECan has established a supply-side project focussed on advancing supply – storage and distribution - projects. Supply is a complex area as a result of existing supply arrangements and the involvement of both public and private sector interests. Primarily supply has a private sector focus.

Supply-side considerations do not simply involve the development of storage or distribution infrastructure. There is a broad range of required considerations. Key concepts are efficiency, reliability, parallel development, governance and particularly collaborative governance and financial and commercial matters.

Supply-side development is seen by ECan as a process of commercialization of supply and its role, as a public body, is to facilitate advancement by private sector interests rather than acting as a developer itself.

The methods currently employed on this project include:

  • Provide advice and assistance to Zone Committees and the Regional Committee on supply-side development.
  • Assist particular zone areas with selection of schemes, particularly where there are competing options.
  • Facilitate synergies between schemes and between storage and reticulation projects.
  • Collate water infrastructure and management information for all current and potential water supply and distribution schemes relevant to the CWMS. This information includes the potential effects on water bodies under future climate scenarios.

Project 2:

A highly skilled team from New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A. has been contracted to address the challenges of developing an integrated regional water distribution approach for Canterbury, which will enable analysis of water infrastructure options and efficiency improvements. The approach includes development of a high level system dynamics computer model which draws on available data sets as well as outputs from more detailed existing computer models.

Progress has been rapid since the project began in early September, with particular attention to confirming the model structure and information requirements. Developers of new water infrastructure options are now creating the required information sets in parallel to this process. The project steering group has prioritized the central Canterbury region for model development and testing to enable it to inform current water infrastructure initiatives. The Australian experts in institutional and legal aspects of water management have also toured key parts of the region and met with water users, managers and scientists.

 

Last Updated: 29 April 2013

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