South Canterbury catchment


1 min read

Project goals Plan change requirements The approach Additional resources

A collaborative project is underway between farmers, DairyNZ and other stakeholders in South Canterbury, to analyse and support implementation of solutions that further decrease nitrogen in water and help ensure farmers can meet plan change rules.

Project goals

The South Canterbury catchment project is focusing on finding ways to maintain profitability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the N-loss targets required in Plan Change 7 of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional plan.

Plan change requirements

The plan change requires farms in high nitrogen concentration areas to reduce N loss, with the main requirements being:

  • Rangitata and Levels Plains: 10% reduction in nitrogen loss beyond baseline Good Management Practice (GMP) by 1 January 2028 and 20% by 2035.
  • Fairlie Basin: 10% reduction in nitrogen loss beyond baseline GMP by 1 January 2028.

The approach

The co-development approach involves farmers, rural professionals, and scientists working together to identify viable options on partner farms to reduce farm N losses while meeting farm business goals.

Through this approach, a range of options will be identified that fit with individual farmers objectives and reduce nutrient losses across the catchment. Support is also available for implementation where this occurs within the project timeframe.




A dairy farmer with a JCB constructing a water well in a paddock

A PVC pipe containing a real-time, nitrate-nitrogen sensor is installed on a farm in Fairlie, South Canterbury, to further understand groundwater nitrogen.

Last updated: Mar 2024

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