In this section

You can check on the location of water races in Selwyn District by visiting the Canterbury Maps website and selecting the Selwyn Water Races in the Layer List (from the top menu).

The water races exist primarily to supply drinking water to stock animals across Selwyn. Water races have a secondary purpose of firefighting resources, irrigation and landscape/aesthetic. All properties with access to a water race are rated for stock water regardless of whether the water is used.


Our water races

The Water Race network in central Canterbury began operations over 120 years ago.

Council manages approximately 1,700kms of water race network that runs across the district.

Water Races are run under three different schemes, check our maps below to locate them:


Our responsibilities

  • Council is responsible for maintaining the main water races where required.
  • Some water races need to be maintained by the landowner, for more information please see Landowner Responsibility
  • Our contractors ensure there is supply across each scheme including river works at each intake, clearing grills and screens and setting flows across each scheme.
  • We undertake spraying of vegetation emerging from some Council cleaned water races.
  • Council approved proposed drainage and water race spraying program 2020/2021

If unsure, please contact us to find out whether your water race is cleaned by our contractor or to get further advice on maintaining your water race.


Reporting poor water race supply

  • If you are experiencing a poor supply from a water race please report the issue via our customer request form.
  • Our contractor will investigate and where possible remedy the issue. We 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 [PDF, 3970 KB] enables a rebate of water race rates to be made for the duration of the prolonged outage (provided it was reported to Council in writing).

Our water race charges

Selwyn is a unique district with its access to water races.

Every rate payer in Selwyn is charged for the upkeep of these, however this differs depending on access;

  • Water race amenity: $22.50 per year (properties without access)
  • Water race access: $327 service charge + $18.50 per hectare