Central Plains Water Ltd Central Plains Water Ltd

Key environmental activity.

Making a positive difference.

Central Plains Water Limited (CPWL) represents the modern face of irrigation in New Zealand. Ongoing collaboration with the Selwyn-Waihora Zone committee and Environment Canterbury have resulted in the improvement of the Selwyn Waihora catchment by further reducing groundwater takes, improving water use efficiency, managing to a nutrient load limit, audited farm environmental plans, and enhanced flows via near-river recharge.

Key Environmental Activity

1. Groundwater recharge.

One of the major environmental benefits of the CPWL scheme is the reduction of groundwater use. Prior to the scheme, water users irrigated from deep groundwater bores effecting water availability for lowland streams and shallow groundwater users nearer the coast. By switching the use of groundwater to low nutrient alpine water, the aquifers are replenished as is the flow of lowland streams that feed Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora, contributing to water quantity goals within the CWMS. 2023 benchmarking confirmed a 50 – 70% reduction in the abstraction of groundwater from pre-CPWL levels*.
*2023 independent audit of our shareholder farms.

2. Reducing nitrogen loss.

The collective efforts of CPWL shareholders, adopting and continually improving best on-farm management practices, are now starting to be seen in the shallow aquifer, with average nitrogen concentration trending down. 2023 benchmarking confirmed nitrogen lost below the root zone is 29% lower* than the pre-CPWL level.
*2023 independent audit of our shareholder farms.

3. Farm Environment Plans.

One of the schemes key environmental pillars, 100% of shareholders are required to prepare a nutrient budget and an independently audited Farm Environmental Plan (FEP) appropriate to their land and use activities. Under consents, CPWL manages 71,000 hectares of land through CPWL FEPs. This provides a unique opportunity to enhance ecological health at a meaningful scale. 94% of these farms have an A or B grade pass on their FEP.

4. Central Pains Water Environmental Management Fund

The Central Plains Environmental Management Fund (EMF) was established as part of the CPWL consent. This fund annually contributes to the enhancement of local ecosystems, mahinga kai values, nature-based solutions, and green infrastructure within the Selwyn Te Waihora catchment. By taking a long-term and whole-catchment approach, each EMF recipient has played a pivotal role in creating intergenerational catchment gains.

5. Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora Environmental Fund

Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora is an area of cultural, natural, historic, recreational, and commercial importance to many people. For Ngäi Tahu cultural identity is restored through the rejuvenation of the mauri and life-supporting capacity of Te Waihora. The annual Te Waihora Environmental Fund was established as part of the CPWL consent, distributed annually to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to enhance the mauri and indigenous diversity of Te Waihora.

6. Lake Ellismere Te Waihora Sea Openings

Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora is an internationally significant wetland, boasting the most diverse bird habitat in New Zealand. With no natural opening to the sea, human intervention is required to open the lake, manage lake levels, keep the lake connected to the sea for migratory fish, and enablement of mahinga kai. Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora Lake Opening Fund was established as part of the CPWL consent with an annual contribution towards sea openings.

Harnessing nature, preserving our environment

Mountains to sea.

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Farm Environment Plans

Farm environment plans.

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Environmental Management Fund

Environmental Management Fund.

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Supporting Wildlife

Supporting wildlife.

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