Environmental Initiatives

CPWL works closely with our shareholders, stakeholders and regulators to promote and deliver initiatives that enhance environmental outcomes and reduce environmental impacts of the scheme.

Environmental Management Fund

CPWL has established an Environmental Management Fund (EMF) for the enhancement of biodiversity across the catchment. The fully operational Scheme generates approximately $115,000 annually for allocation by the EMF. Applications for funding are considered by a Committee appointed by CPWL. Applications are considered for environmental projects within the Scheme area, or for biodiversity enhancement projects in the Selwyn / Te Waihora.

The following projects will be considered by the EMF:

  1. Minimising nutrient losses to lowland streams and Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere
  2. Excluding stock from wetlands, riparian margins and beds of rivers and streams
  3. Physical protection or enhancement of indigenous vegetation planting along riparian margins
  4. Indigenous wetland enhancement of indigenous wetland creation, including the development of indigenous wetlands along intermittent streams
  5. Permanent protection of wetland area that may contain mudfish

Funds have been provided for the planting of native species, the development of wetlands, and for research.

Efficient Water Use

CPWL shareholders are required to apply the use of good management practices and CPWL assists with this through the following initiatives:

  1. The shareholders have free access to CPWL's potential evapotranspiration (ET) website that indicates what the last ten days ET has been and what the next three days are expected to be. Shareholders can then order water according to the ET, the main driver of water loss.
  2. There are only 15 hours between the time shareholders can last order water for the next day and the water being available at the farm gate. Other irrigation schemes must order water days in advance. This enables CPWL shareholders to look at the weather forecast, soil moisture and ET and make an informed decision on whether they require water or not.
  3. Shareholders are not required to use the allocated water. In some irrigation schemes if you have ordered water then you are obligated to use it. This is not the case with CPWL. The CPWL intake gate is driven by actual scheme demand (limited by our consented take for the day). Any unused water will stay in the river.
  4. CPWL Shareholders are encouraged to place daily water orders and not to place orders a week in advance.

Aquifer Recharge

The CPWL scheme is part of the Selwyn Waihora Catchment. The Selwyn Waihora Catchment is considered "Overallocated" by Environment Canterbury (ECan). CPWL Shareholders hold groundwater consents for the abstraction of over 200 million m3.of groundwater per annum.

This volume of water exceeds available groundwater quantities, and continued abstraction will deplete the groundwater resource, reduce flows in lowland streams and hill-fed rivers and adversely affect ecological and cultural values.

Prior to the CPWL scheme delivering water to its Shareholders, approximately 100 million m3 was abstracted per annum. With CPWL now fully operational this annual abstraction has reduced to 32 million m3 as groundwater users switch to the CPWL supplied surface water.

This represents a 66% reduction in the abstraction of groundwater since the commencement of CPWL water delivery.

Environmental Management Fund

The Environmental Management Fund has been distributed to three primary types of funding.   79% Planting - 18% Wetland - 3% Research

Local Initiatives

Te Waihora Environmental Management Fund

In addition to the CPWL EMF, funds are made available to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for environmental initiatives associated with the restoration of health / mauri of the environment in the vicinity of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere.

Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere Lake Opening

Funding is also provided for the periodic opening of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere to the sea to permit the flushing of water from the Lake to the sea.

More detail on the Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere opening process can be found on the Environment Canterbury website.

Potential Evapotranspiration System

CPWL and Aqualinc have developed a website that permits shareholders to access the daily reference evapotranspiration (ET) for the scheme area. Shareholders can view the ET for the last ten days and the forecast for the next three days.

Potential Evapotranspiration is one of the key pieces of information used to make an informed decision on whether to irrigate the next day.

Other Initiatives