Community Outcomes Baseline Report
  Community Outcomes Baseline Report


A City of People who Value and Protect the Natural Environment

Environmental impacts

  • Since 2003 waste to landfill has increased from 651 to 777 kilograms per person. The amount of rubbish recycled over the last eight years has consistently increased to 35,800 tonnes of waste in 2006.
  • The proportional use of renewable and non-renewable energy sources over the last 15 years has remained relatively consistent. In 2004 almost two thirds (64%) of Christchurch’s energy use was non-renewable.

Natural places

  • In 2005 there were 50 ecological (3,126 hectares) heritage sites located within Christchurch. In 2006 all rivers and 16% of beaches exceeded water quality guidelines.

Water management

  • Ground water abstraction has remained relatively consistent over the last 15 years; in 2006, 146 cubic metres per person was abstracted.

Community initatives

  • Many community groups along with the City Council are contributing to improving Christchurch's environment.  You can read more in the stories below...

Tell us your success stories at:

Stories of Success...

CCC and Ecan: maintaining the purest water in the world


  • Freshwater is conserved and pollutant free

Christchurch people enjoy some of the freshest and purest water in the world. Christchurch water is naturally filtered through the gravel beds and sand laid down by glaciers and rivers during the formation of the Canterbury Plains. This means that the water doesn’t need to be filtered to remove bacteria or other matter and comes from the ground clear, refreshing and ready-to-drink.

Christchurch City Council works with Environment Canterbury (ECAN) to ensure that clean clear water can continue to be enjoyed by Christchurch people.

ECAN’s regional plan places a high priority on maintaining an untreated Christchurch water supply.  Water abstraction levels are managed so enough water stays within the system to ensure Christchurch has water to meet its needs. 

Christchurch City Council has a number of initiatives that ensure the City’s water is well used. 

Water loss reduction work checks and reduces leaks from the system.  In dollar terms, water stopped from leaking from the system in 2006 saved the City $58,000 in pumping costs.

The Waterwise programme promotes water conservation.  Each year the programme focuses on a different area of water conservation.  Over the 2005/2006 summer The Waterwise programme focused on saving water in the garden.  Promotion of garden water conservation was supported by Christchurch garden centres.  The programme promoted watering and gardening tips to ensure garden water is used efficiently and effectively.

The backflow prevention programme undertaken by CCC with all commercial and industrial users ensures the aquifer system is protected from contaminated flows entering the aquifer sources from factories, sewers and other sources of potential contamination.

Further info: Water

CCC Ocean Outfall: managing waste water and improving the environment


  • Our sewage and wastewater systems protect the quality of our ocean and freshwater resources

Instead of discharging the city's treated wastewater into the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, the Ocean Outfall pipeline will transport it underground from the oxidation ponds at theWastewater Treatment Plant to 3km out into Pegasus Bay.

Together with already completed improvements to the treatment of sewerage coming from the Christchurch Waste Water Treatment Plant, and by removing the estuary discharge, water quality in the estuary will be improved.

The Ocean Outfall project is on track to be completed by the end of 2008.

While the microbiological quality of the wastewater discharge is already very good, the 3km separation between waste and people resulting from the 3km ocean outfall will reduce public health risks even further.

A monitoring programme, including fish surveys, will show the level of improvement within the estuary environment that occurs in the future.

Further info: Ocean Outfall

CCC and volunteers: many hands making parks fun


  • Plantings expand in and around Christchurch City.
  • Streams and waterways are clean.
  • Ecological heritage sites are retained.

Christchurch enjoys an astonishing range of natural areas.  Within half an hours drive from Cathedral Square you can discover beaches, wetlands, forests, or grasslands.

The Christchurch City Council works in conjunction with other organisations and the community to protect and enhance our environment and provide facilities for recreation. The re-establishment of natural areas is ongoing.  Restored areas provide important habitat and food sources for our native wildlife. 

This is a short summary of the fantastic places available to Christchurch people and some of the things the community is doing to restore and enhance them:

Beaches and coastal areas: The coastline of Christchurch has much to offer for both recreational activities and for our wildlife. The Christchurch shoreline has many geographical features, and each area provides a unique niche for wildlife and specialised coastal plants. It is a dynamic, ever changing environment with much to see, do and treasure.

Coast Care is a programme run by the Christchurch City Council to protect the coastal area from the Waimakariri River to Godley Head. Staff work with interested people including: residents, schools, beach visitors and conservationists.  Activities include: protecting the coast; stabilising the dunes; growing native plants; building tracks, carparks and picnic areas; encouraging learning and research.  One group is the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, you can read more about their work below.

Grasslands: The dry plains grasslands at McLeans Island are a large area of land south of the Waimakariri River and north-west of Christchurch International Airport. The grasslands are significant for their ecological and landscape values, representing prehuman grasslands, shrublands and woodlands of the Canterbury Plains.

Most of the grasslands are currently under development and not open to the public. There are long-term plans however, to provide recreational areas for picnicking and walking.

Regional (Metropolitan) Parks: Christchurch has  numerous  regional parks that offer recreation opportunities in natural settings these include: Bottle Lake Forest Park; The Groynes; Halswell Quarry; Spencer Park; Brooklands Lagoon and Seafield Park; Porthill Reserves  and Styx Mill Conservation Reserve.

Halswell Quarry Park  Group  and ‘Guardians of the Styx’ Charitable Trust work to protect and enhance their respective parks.

Port Hills: The Port Hills are one of the best-loved landscapes of Christchurch. The tussock grasslands and rugged rock out-crops contrast the flatness of the Canterbury Plains. Remnants of podacarp forest are reminders of the past.

People enjoy the Port Hills in many different ways, from scenic drives to picnic lookouts. Walking, running, mountain biking and road biking are all very popular. Botanists explore the crater rim forests, rock climbers dangle down the sheer volcanic bluffs, and paragliders soar high over the tussock slopes.

Many organisations have an active interest in the Port Hills including the Christchurch City Council, Department of Conservation, Ngai Tahu, Ngati wheke, Ngai Tahuriri, the Summit Road Protection Authority, Summit Road Society, Selwyn District Council, Environment Canterbury, Mt Vernon Trust, John Britten Trust, and Godley Head Trust.  These groups work in different ways to protect and enhance the Port Hills for their recreation, environmental, cultural and landscape values.  For example, many voluntary hours are given building and clearing tracks, controlling pest species, planting and releasing indigenous species.

Waterways: Christchurch is fortunate to have a range of waterways and wetlands. The three larger rivers, the Avon, Heathcote and Styx are fed by a 400 km network of open waterways ranging from natural flowing streams to concrete and timber lined channels and summer dry watercourses.

Waterways are amongst the city's most important assets. Our rivers, streams and wetlands contain entire communities of native plants, birds, insects and fish and are important places for recreation and enjoyment.

Wetlands: Christchurch has several intensively  managed wetlands including : Bexley Wetland; Horseshoe Lake Reserve and Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park.  The wetlands in Christchurch offer a number of easy walkways and viewing areas, with opportunities to see many bird species and plant communities.   

Residents and interest groups not only help protect these valuable areas they also contribute to decision-making, planting, maintenance and education.

Further info: Parks

Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust: working with local government to improve the environment


  • Freshwater is conserved and pollutant free.
  • Streams and waterways are clean.
  • Ecological heritage sites are retained.
  • We develop solutions for minimising our impact on the environment.

The Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust is a not-for-profit organisation formed with public support in 2002 and with representation from Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and Ngai Tuahuriri

Its vision is: "Communities working together for: clean water, open space, safe recreation and healthy ecosystems that we can all enjoy and respect."

Amongst other things it aims to:

"pursue for the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai ("the Estuary") the preservation of its natural and historic resources to maintain their intrinsic values, and to seek the protection of these resources, including restoration and enhancement, for their appreciation and recreational enjoyment by present and future generations."

The Trust was responsible for the drafting of a non-statutory management plan for the estuary.  The Plan is a written record of the vision and values expressed by those interested in and passionate about the Estuary. It also documents the many actions necessary for achieving the vision.

The Trust has identified that an important change will occur in the Estuary when wastewater currently pumped into it is instead discharged directly into the ocean.  When this happens it will be important to measure the pre and post conditions so we can learn as a city and as a nation the effects of waste on estuarine environments. 

Once waste is removed from the Estuary other impacts on the Avon and Heathcote rivers are likely to be more obvious.  In removing the wastewater from the Estuary the council has chosen to address the highest impact challenge first and realise there will be other challenges to be solved in the future.

Further info: Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust

Indicator trends...

Indicator progress key
No change
No indicator

Standards of success
The amount of rubbish sent to landfill dereases. [PDF 19KB]
More rubbish is recycled. [PDF 19KB]
Freshwater is conserved and pollutant free. [PDF 31KB]
Cleaner energy sources are used more often. [PDF 21KB]
Our reliance upon non-renewable resources declines. [PDF 18KB]
Plantings expand in and around Christchurch City.
Streams and waterways are clean. [PDF 20KB]
Ecological heritage sites are retained. [PDF 94KB]
We develop solutions for minimising our impacts on the environment.
Our sewerage and waste water systems protect the quality of our oceans and freshwater resources. [PDF 20KB]
Air pollution is reduced. [PDF 18KB]
Overall progress measures
Annual ground water abstraction [PDF 19KB]

Christchurch City Council, PO Box 237, Christchurch Mail Centre, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
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