The Hekeao/Hinds catchment (our catchment) faces the pressures of reduced water quantity combined with reduced quality because of increased nitrate concentrations. This situation is not unique to our catchment and is an unforeseen consequence of historic farming practice alongside other community use of the water resource.
The MAR Project has been developed as just one of the tools available to address the issues faced and to help ensure that the community meets Environment Canterbury and Central Government policy. If these requirements are not met the impact on farming in the catchment will be catastrophic with the potential for greater land use restrictions in the area.
MAR is not a new concept and it has been used extensively overseas. Managed aquifer recharge in our context refers to the intentional recharge of clean water to aquifers for environmental benefit.
Infiltration basins, which act like big leaky ponds, are filled with high-quality clean water which seeps down and recharges the groundwater.
The trial works closely with a diverse group of stakeholders including regional and district councils, Ngāi Tahu, Canterbury District Health Board and Central South Island Fish & Game.
The project has four objectives. To:
- Target and protect drinking water supplies.
- Enhance groundwater quality.
- Improve baseflows to spring-fed streams (drains) and rivers for environmental, cultural and recreational values.
- Improve and sustainably manage groundwater storage.