The Central Plains Water Trust was formally constituted in March 2003 by Christchurch City and Selwyn District Councils to facilitate sustainable development of Central Canterbury’s water resource.

The Trust continues the work of the Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee. The Steering Committee was jointly formed by the two Councils in March 2000 to improve the security and prosperity of Central Canterbury through water management schemes that enhance ecological and recreational values while providing opportunity for agricultural and horticultural diversity.

The feasibility studies undertaken by the Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee included extensive consultation (Consultation Programme) , culminating in February 2002 with a report to the two parent councils. This report concludes that the technical feasibility, affordability and consentabilityof a scheme to provide water to irrigate 84,000 ha between the Rakaia and the Waimakariri Rivers has been established to a level of confidence that justifies taking further steps.

The Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee investigated the feasibility of a water enhancement scheme in Central Canterbury, reporting back to the Christchurch City and Selwyn District Councils in February 2002.

More information and a copy of the full technical feasibility report can be viewed here.

The Christchurch City and Selwyn District Councils accepted the findings of the feasibility report and provided funding for the project to continue. Funding from Christchurch City was via the Canterbury Economic Development Fund following an application made by Central Plains Water to the fund. A copy of this application can be viewed here http://www.cpw.org.nz/pdf/R980A-01.pdf (9.7MB)

In November 2002 Christchurch City and Selwyn District Councils decided that the most appropriate way forward for the project was through a trust. The formation of the Central Plains Water Trust was to enables consents to take and use water to be retained in public ownership, but provides flexibility to raise the funding required to complete preparation for a scheme independent of Council involvement and ratepayer risk. The Trust Deed establishing the trust can be viewed here.

The Trust first met in March 2003. The two Councils appointed 13 Trustees. Two of these appointments were made on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and two on the recommendation of Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu.

Also in November 2002 the Central Plains Water Enhancement Steering Committee opted for the Waianiwaniwa Valley as preferred site for the storage reservoir that will be a vital component of the scheme. Copies of the reports associated with this decision can be viewed here (R1099c) and hereĀ (R1161)

The Trust formed Central Plains Water Limited in 2004 to raise funding, primarily from those who will most directly gain economic benefit from the irrigation component of the proposed water enhancement scheme. Central Plains Water Limited successfully completed a capital raising exercise in December 2004, ensuring that the project proposals will proceed to the resource consenting phase.

The Trust now operates under a deed of trust dated 9 October 2012.