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Making a difference: Coes Ford What are the issues? Previously a much-loved community swimming spot, in March 2017, the Selwyn River / Waikirikiri stopped flowing at Coes Ford. These days, even when there is water at the Ford, its quality is poor, with elevated microbial contamination (E.coli levels and a risk of toxic cyanobacteria). The cause is not a mystery. Selwyn’s groundwater, lowland streams, springs and the lower Selwyn River/ Waikirikiri are all one connected system, and climate has a significant impact. Recent dry winters affected refill of the groundwater system, with groundwater irrigation exacerbating the impact. Silverstream is the source of the microbial contaminants in the river at Coes Ford – although only six kilometres upstream, the water quality at Chamberlains Ford is good for swimming.

What’s being done? A detailed plan is being implemented to make the Selwyn swimmable at Coes Ford. Restrictions on water takes from the river are already in place, new takes are prohibited, and water transfers are restricted. The Central Plains Water project will replace groundwater takes with water from the Rakaia River, leaving more in the groundwater system to support the Selwyn. An application is in place to add CPW water to the Selwyn, and further restrictions on all groundwater takes in this area are being considered. Farmers in the Silverstream catchment will be supported to reduce farm run-off into streams and drains, to reduce the microbial effect in the river.

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Profile for Environment Canterbury

Selwyn Te Waihora - Our water story  

This booklet outlines what is being done to restore and rejunvenate the ecosystem health of Te Waihora and its catchment.

Selwyn Te Waihora - Our water story  

This booklet outlines what is being done to restore and rejunvenate the ecosystem health of Te Waihora and its catchment.

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