In this section
Where are our water races?
Water Races are run under three different schemes, check our maps below to locate them:
Reporting poor water race supply
- If you are experiencing a poor supply from your water race please report the issue to Council by phone or email email@example.com. Our Network Management Contractor SICON will investigate and where possible remedy the issue.
- Council cannot guarantee supply to the races and sometimes it can take a long time for the problem to be resolved (e.g. due to lack of water in the river). Council’s policy W109 enables a rebate of water race rates to be made for the duration of the prolonged outage (provided it was reported to Council).
- Applications for water race rebates should be made in writing to WaterRaces@selwyn.govt.nz
To find out if your water race is your responsibility and to get advice on maintenance best practices please contact Council.
- Use of water races for any purpose other than stock water requires an application to Council.
- Council’s Water Race Policies [PDF, 1236 KB] outline how the races are used and managed.
- Incorrect take from the water race is an enforceable offence under the water race bylaw. If supply is low, the Council may require all domestic irrigation to cease.
- Water race rate payers in all three schemes may apply to irrigate house gardens from the water race up to a maximum of 4,000 litres per day. Non-commercial irrigation for establishment of shelter-belts can be applied for, for a two year period.
- Select and fill in one of the following application forms:
- Council hold an Environment Canterbury consent that allows water for commercial irrigation to be taken from the water race in the Paparua scheme.
Relocating water races
- Land owners can apply to Council for permission to move a section of water race.
- To gain approval there must be no impact on other water race users.
- Relocations are required to be undertaken in line with policy W106.
- Applicants should contact Council to be directed to Council’s Network Management Contractor SICON for further advice and to make an application. No relocations can be undertaken without Council approval.
- Drawing - Water race lining, New and Relocated Channels [PDF, 473 KB]
- Council approval is required before any new structures are placed in a water race or changes made to an existing race (relocation, closure etc). In addition to making an application to Council, it is the applicant's responsibility to consult with Environment Canterbury prior to excavation works being undertaken in or adjacent to a water race to determine whether resource consent is required (earthworks adjacent to a surface water body).
Closing down a water race
- With the establishment of Central Plains Water Ltd, if all rate payers on a section of water race agree to its closure, an application can be made to Council to close the race.
- No closure can be undertaken without Council approval.
Water races maintenance
We have contractors employed to manage the water races and to ensure there is supply across each scheme. Council contractor SICON does this work including river works at each intake, clearing grills and screens and setting flows across each scheme.
- To ensure that water races can continue to be maintained, our standard building setback from the top of a water race bank is 10 metres, as outlined in the Water Race Bylaw [PDF, 105 KB] Section 8.21.
- Reduced Building Setback [PDF, 121 KB] can be applied for using the form and submitting to Council.
Cleaning and spraying
Clean water races should be free flowing, clear of silt, vegetation and other obstructions that prevent water from flowing. .
- We are responsible for cleaning main water races where required.
- We undertake spraying of vegetation emerging from some Council cleaned water races. Spraying of water race banks can cause them to slump and collapse.
- We do not recommend land owners spray water race banks or directly into water.
- Land owners are responsible for cleaning all other races (as outlined in Policy W103). If there is a water race on or adjacent to your property you should regularly inspect, repair, maintain and clean to ensure there is a continuous supply of water downstream.
- Cleaning should include removal of built up silt, aquatic weed and grasses and pest plants in the race. Race cleaning work should be careful not to damage races or banks.
- Please contact Council to find out whether your water race is cleaned by Council or to get further advice on maintaining your water race.
- The property owner owns the entrance-way culvert over the water race, and therefore is responsible for its maintenance and replacement, if needed.
- Approval from Council is required prior to any structure being placed in a water race.
- Drawing - Water race entranceway culvert [PDF, 211 KB]
Application - New entranceway culvert [PDF, 2558 KB]
Planting and spraying
- We support the planting of water races to help to increase biodiversity, reduce weed growth and stabilise race banks. We need to make sure that plant selection and placing are suitable. Further details and a list of approved plants.
Refer to the Selwyn District Council Water Race Bylaw 2008 for further information.
Applying for a water race pond
- Water race ponds can be applied for, in line with the requirements of Policy W102. Applicants should contact Council to be directed to Council’s Network Management Contractor SICON for further advice and to make an application.
- Drawing - Water race connection requirements for ponds [PDF, 95 KB]
Water Race Management
The Water Race network in central Canterbury began operations over 120 years ago and was established to provide a reliable water source for agriculture. Council manages approximately 1,700kms of water race network that runs across the district. Water Races are run under three different schemes.
- The Council Water Race Management Plan (Part 1 [PDF, 8002 KB], Part 2 [PDF, 14522 KB]) sets out key water race network managing principles. The plan gives a specific statement of intent for the network, details key objectives/outcomes, and outlines best practice guidelines to be followed in managing and operating the network.