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Central Plains Water Trust

The Central Plains Water Trust was established by the Christchurch City and Selwyn District Councils to facilitate sustainable development of Central Canterbury's water resource.

It continues the work of the Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee to develop proposals for a large scale community water enhancement scheme providing water for irrigation between the Rakaia and the Waimakariri Rivers.

Trustees of the Central Plains Water Trust were appointed by the two Councils to reflect a broad range of skills and experience in areas such as governance, agriculture, engineering, commerce and resource management. Some Trustee appointments were made following recommendations from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu.

The Trust has formed Central Plains Water Limited, which undertook a share issue in December 2004. The share issue was successful in raising the funds required to progress the water enhancement scheme proposals. As a result, Central Plains Water Limited has around 400 shareholders, these being the owners of properties approximately between the Malvern foothills, the Rakaia River, State Highway One and the Waimakariri River, where water for irrigation will be provided by the proposed community water enhancement scheme.

The resource consents for the Scheme have been granted and Stage 1 is under constructio. It is expected to be operational in 2015.

The Trust currently operates under a revised trust deed dated 9 October 2012

2014 Annual Report

Chairperson's report

The 2013 - 2014 year has been concluded with the Prime Minister turning the first sod for the construction of Stage 1 of the Scheme. The trustees congratulate Central Plains Water Limited on this achievement.


The resource consents required that the Trust appoint a Community Liaison Group (CLG) before the commencement of construction of Stage 1 of the Scheme, with a maximum of 6 members with skills or knowledge in at least one of:

a.             Ngai Tahu culture

b.             Indigenous biodiversity

c.             Recreation on the Waimakiriri and Rakaia rivers

d.             Sustainable irrigated agriculture

e.             Water quality

f.              Community / business

g.             Lowland drainage.

Public advertising for expressions of interest for the CLG positions was carried out in early November 2013, and a meeting to brief the respondents and to chose who to appoint, was held by the trustees on Monday 25 November 2013. The CLG has:

(a)           The opportunity to meet every 6 months, or less frequently as determined by the CLG

(b)           An annual inspection of the Scheme area

(c)           The provision of all information to which the CLG is entitled by virtue of the resource


The main purpose of the meetings of the CLG is to:

(a)           Provide input and feedback into the preparation, implementation, review and amendment of

               the Farm Management Plan templates.

(b)           Discuss any community concerns regarding the operation of the Scheme

(c)           Review and recommend projects for the distribution of the funds from the

               EnvironmentalManagement Fund to the Trust and the to the Environmental Management 

               Fund Committee.

The CLG will also have the opportunity to review and comment on:

(a)           The initial scheme environmental management plan; and

(b)           The initial Farm Management Plan templates;

(c)           The reviews of any amendments to the Scheme Environmental Management Plan and Farm                Plan templates;                and

d)            The Annual Environmental Report including the annual overall audit report on compliance with the Farm     Management Plans.

The CLG will also be provided with the opportunity to submit information direct to Ecan (Compliance and Enforcement Manager) annually, in relation to the review of the Scheme Environmental Management Plan, and the template for the Farm Management Plans.

The trustees appointed Guy Trafford, Warren Galletly and Olive Webb, and in addition resolved that the two local runanga nominate one representative each to the CLG.


During the year the trustees reviewed the CPWL Water Use Agreements developed for water users to sign. The trustees were very satisfied that these agreements, together with the other information, guidance and briefings for farmers who will use the water, which had been undertaken by CPWL.


On 29 April 2014, a ceremony was held at Heatherlea to turn the first sod for the construction of Stage 1 of the Scheme, by the Prime Minister Hon John Key, with the speaker of the House of Representatives Hon David Carter and ministers Nathan Guy and Gerry Brownlee, also present, as well as the mayor of Selwyn District Kelvin Coe and two trustees of the Central Plains Water Trust. This was a very significant milestone for the development of the Scheme.

Prior to this a great deal of time and effort was spent by the trustees and the Trust's lawyers in studying and negotiating the documents for execution on behalf of the Trust in respect of the Bank financing for Central Plains Water limited. This was achieved on time, and CPWL's finance was confirmed. This enabled the repayment of funds owing to the Selwyn District Council and others, and for the tenders to be let for Stage 1 construction. As at the time of writing this report, construction was well under way.

As stated in the Trust's Statement of Intent for the 2014 - 15 year, it is now necessary for the Trust's funding arrangements to be reviewed. The Trust's role now is to continue to assist CPWL to construct the Scheme, and following commissioning to monitor all of CPWL's activities, and especially the compliance of water users with CPWL's Water Use Agreements, which will require adherence to the sustainable farming protocols which have been central to the Trust's overall objectives, and which are now also incorporated into the resource consents held by the Trust. For this purpose the Trust will need to conduct independent reviews and operational audits, and these will be funded by CPWL.

However the Trust as a charitable trust, also has other and wider obligations to the community as a whole, especially an obligation to report publicly on CPWL's activities and its compliance with its obligations to the Trust and with the resource consents. In addition, the Trust has an obligation as set out in the Trust deed, in "Providing and facilitating education to the inhabitants of the Region in relation to water issues and sustainable agricultural development"; and it also has an obligation under the MOU between the Trust and CPWL to propose projects to CPWL such as the provision of public recreational opportunities using the Scheme infrastructure, especially the head-race canal and on the use of land owned by CPWL for Scheme purposes. 

The costs of publishing an annual report on the results of the Trust's reviews and audits of CPWL's operations, together with the costs of providing educational information and of pursuing public recreational opportunities, are not covered by CPWL's legal obligations, and the trust needs future funding for these if it is to be enabled to carry out its functions as envisaged by the two settlor councils under the trust deed.

As set out in MOU clause 12.1 above "the Parties acknowledge that upon the completion of Stage 1, a fundamental change will take place in the nature of the relationship between the Water Trust and CPWL and in particular: (a) A further updated version of this Memorandum may be entered into". The Trust and CPWL are currently drafting a new MOU as required; and permanent funding of the Trust's functions will be an important aspect of it. While the bulk of the Trust's funding will continue to come from CPWL, and at approximately the same rate as is currently being provided, the Trust's future activities not covered by CPWL's obligations, need now to be settled. The need for the Trust to be demonstrably independent and not totally funded by CPWL is particularly emphasised. Therefore the two settlor councils which established the Trust and continue to control it to the extent of the right to appoint the trustees and to receive reports quarterly and annually, have been requested to consider sharing the burden of funding the Trust, with CPWL, to an appropriate degree.


The new trust deed dated 9 October 2012, which was amended in accordance with resource consent requirements, has now been executed by the trustees and by Selwyn District Council and the Christchurch City Council. The trust is now proceeding with an application for registration as a charitable trust.

2013 Annual Report

Consenting Issues

The CPW consent appeal withdrawal documents were lodged 4 July 2012, and the consents were formally finalised and issued soon thereafter by the Environment Court.

During the year following, CPWT obtained the agreement of the settlor Councils for amendment of the Trust Deed to provide for amendments sought by Ngai Tahu as part of the settlement agreement for the scheme's consents, and to allow approval of charitable status under the Charitable Trusts Act. A new deed of trust was accordingly prepared and was duly executed by the trustees and by the Selwyn District Council as one of the settlor councils, in October 2012. The other settlor council is the Christchurch City Council, to which the deed was sent for execution on 17 October 2012. Unfortunately the CCC has not yet executed and returned the deed, thus delaying the finalisation of this matter.

Scheme Progress

CPWL finalised its plans for the first stage of scheme design for implementation, and presented this to CPWT early in 2013. The trustees then resolved to confirm their approval. The first stage will cover an initial 20,000 ha, together with a smaller scheme for Sheffield using Waimakariri water.

Construction had been planned to commence by the end of 2013, but the requirement for a synthetic canal liner now required for part of the head-race, and other factors, have now meant that construction will not now start until early 2014. The final headrace design  will however be complete by March 2014 and the Headrace Dam consent issued soon after.

CPWL has negotiated with Trustpower for up to 50 Million m3 of Lake Coleridge stored water. The run of river scheme consented is inadequate at times of low flow for the desired level of reliability, and additional storage is essential. Trustpower water will help to get the scheme going sooner and greatly improve its reliability.

Selwyn District Council funding of an additional $5 million for scheme final design was agreed and provided, and the government Ministry of Primary Industry allocated a further $5.7 million grant from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund.

A Legal opinion by the Trust's lawyers, was needed and obtained to confirm that the trustees had the powers required for the security required by Selwyn District Council for its loan. This makes it clear that the trust deed does allow the trustees to grant security over the resource consents as well as over the head licence, provided the trustees are satisfied that by doing so they would be acting in the best interests of the charitable objects of the trust. Given that the funding was needed for the final design and other work to get the scheme to the stage where its construction can be tendered and contracted, the trustees resolved to agree to the limited recourse security as proposed. But the trustees consider the loan to be a special case and will strongly resist giving a security over the resource consents again in the future if it can possibly be avoided.

During the early part of the financial year CPWL formed an alliancing agreement with Solid Energy Limited, which is working with CPWL as project manager for the first stage of the scheme's development. This ensures that the necessary skills and resources are available  to CPWL to manage the design and secure the land and Shareholder agreements needed to begin construction. The Trustees noted that this alliancing agreement, does not affect CPWL's obligations as scheme operator under the Memo of Understanding between CPWT and CPWL.

The next steps for the trustees include the establishment of the committees and panels required by the resource consents. CPWL is recommending appointees to the technical panels for the trustees' ratification.

The Trust itself will establish the following two committees:

Environmental Management Fund Committee:

This will probably not be required until February 2014 and will not be managed by the Trust itself but by an independent committee (EMFC). It will have a minimum of 6 members appointed by the Trust:

(1)       One representative of CPWT.

(2)       Two reps proposed by Ngai Tahu.

(3)       One person to represent environmental and recreational interests.

(4)       One person to represent community interests.

(5)       One representative of the councils (SDC, CCC, and CRC) and/or a rep of the CWMS Selwyn-Waihora zone committee.

Community Liaison Group:

The Trust will conduct public advertising for positions on the CLG early in the second half of 2013. A maximum of 6 members will be appointed by the Trust with the skills or knowledge in at least one of:

(a)       Ngai Tahu culture

(b)       Indigenous biodiversity

(c)        Recreation on the Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers

(d)       Sustainable irrigated agriculture

(e)       Water quality

(f)         Community / business

(g)       Lowland drainage

In the meantime and in preparation for construction, negotiations have taken place for the purchase of land for the Stage 1 headrace, which will reach about 20 kilometres from the Rakaia River and almost to the Hororata River. Ten to twelve properties are involved.

The monitoring work required as a condition to the resource consents began in December 2012. The initial information is needed to provide a base-line for future monitoring work after the scheme is brought into operation. The study has been carried out by Aqualinc of existing water quality and water level conditions. This will inform the Ground and Surface Water Expert Review Panel (GSWERP) of the current groundwater and Te Waihora nutrient conditions, so that there will be a clear reference point against which future conditions can be measured as well as the impact of an additional 20,000ha of new irrigation. This baseline will need to be signed off by GSWERP before any CPW irrigation commences.

GSWERP appointments have now been ratified by CPWT and comprise:

Susan Goodfellow (CPWL technical representative)

John Suncle (lower plains drainage technical representative)

John Bright (Aqualink drainage engineer)

Ned Norton (ex-NIWA groundwater scientist)

Matthew Smith (Ecan Principal Consents Planner and hydrologist).

Lisa Smith (nominated by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu).

Peter Calendar (hydrologist nominated by Christchurch City Council), and

Joanne Golder and Murray England (nominated by Selwyn District Council).

Other work which has been carried out in preparation for the commencement of the Scheme includes:

(a)       An Archaeological and Heritage Survey: An initial site survey has been completed and two possible sites identified (Old Homestead at the Abbot property, and Maori ovens on Upper Terrace at Grasslands).

(b)       A Terrestrial Ecological Survey.

CPWL has now completed a draft of the Water user Agreements to be signed by it and the users. CPWT will meet later in 2013 to review and discuss these as required by the MOU between CPWT and CPWL.

Scheme Funding

 Funding to construct Stage 1 will come partly from shareholders. It has been established that the capital charge per hectare will be approximately $1600, and that the annual charge will be approximately $650 per hectare. This confirms that the scheme is economic for investors. CPWL has held four well attended shareholder meetings with attendance totalling over 450 people. This will prepare investors for the prospectus to be issued  in  September 2013, which is expected to raise over $30 million.

 CPWL also intends to apply for $10 million from the government's Crown Irrigation Equity Ltd fund.The government has established Crown Irrigation Equity Fund Limited to administer the Fund and to allocate funds from it. These funds will be applied as equity rather than as a loan. The equity will eventually be repaid.

The remaining funding requirement will come from banks at an expected debt ratio of 72.5%.

2012 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report - PDF

2011 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report - PDF

2010 Annual Report
2010 Annual Report - PDF

2009 Annual Report
2009 Annual Report - PDF

2008 Annual Report
2008 Annual Report - PDF
Audit Opinion - PDF

2007 Annual Report
2007 Annual Report - PDF

2006 Annual Report & Financial Statements
2006 Annual Report & Financial Statements - Word Doc

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