Amuri Irrigation Company (AIC) confirmed this week that they have voluntarily increased the minimum flow in the Waiau River by one cumec from 1 February with the increase to continue through March 2019.

The company confirmed this action at the February 2019 Hurunui Waiau Zone Committee meeting, with this being a step towards implementing a broader programme of environmental enhancements (mitigation) planned by AIC for the catchment.

The broader programme of mitigation was proposed to the Zone Committee in November 2017 to coincide with a stepped increase in minimum flows on the Waiau and Hurunui Rivers. Other work included in the package are:

  1. Improving Hurunui and Waiau River hapua
  2. Enhancement work to spring-fed streams in the catchment
  3. Enhancing riverbed bird habitat
  4. Delivering mahinga kai values
  5. Wetland enhancement
  6. Reducing nitrogen inputs to Hurunui River
  7. Mitigating the risk of adverse impact on salmon passage

The Zone Committee is waiting on further information from external parties before it can confirm and endorse the package. AIC made the decision to voluntarily increase the minimum flow as a gesture of good will prior to confirmation of final package requirements. The increase would be a permanent increase once the package was confirmed and the temporary timeframe was to encourage that to happen.

“AIC is keen to confirm the final details of the package so that we can commence some of the key workstreams. For example, there is important work planned to create a wetland and targeted tributary pumping which will bring significant benefits by reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the Hurunui River. In the interim AIC has chosen to lodge the necessary resource consent applications so that we are ready to proceed once the package is approved and ensure that the delay does not set us back by another season. The increased flow on the Waiau is also an indication of our commitment to enhancing environmental factors within the catchment. We look forward to making further improvements once the package is confirmed,” said Andrew Barton, AIC CEO.

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