Following the retirement of South Island Team Leader Phil Keene, NZ Landcare Trust has transferred responsibility for project management to Janet Gregory.
Among the many challenges that lie ahead in Christchurch, sustainable land and water management may not appear at the top of the list, yet the 10,000 plus quakes that ravaged the region have resulted in changes that may have an impact on future land and water management plans.
The foot of the Port Hills has seen over 100 brand new springs appear with a number of older dried up springs kicking back to life. In other places bores have reduced flows while some nearer a fault line or at a springhead have subsided entirely. In the aftermath of larger quakes, initial observations revealed fluctuating groundwater levels... in exterme cases up to 40 metres. However the majority of these reduced to pre-earthquake levels within a few days, once geological pressures abated. In some places possible permanent changes in the aquifer base has occurred due to material being shaken and then settling.
There is uncertainty around future water supply when levels are low and a need to focus on drawdown to ascertain the long-term effects given seasonal variances. The impact of sediment levels is still an issue especially in the smaller streams. Remedial work is also underway on the whitebait spawning sites on streams and rivers within the boundaries of Christchurch City to minimise the potential damage to these populations.
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