Portrait of Robin & Andy

Living Water & Selwyn District Council Partnership

Partnerships – With Descriptor

About the project

Selwyn District Council manages the drainage/waterway network in the Ararira-LII catchment. The waterways were constructed in the mid 1800’s to drain the large wetland adjoining Te Waihora. They provide habitat for many native species including tuna/eels, bullies, inanga and introduced brown trout.

The Council also own and manage Tārerekautuku / Yarrs Lagoon, a 77 hectare reserve in the heart of the Ararira-LII catchment. The Lagoon is a Canterbury Plains wetland remnant and a key biodiversity site.

Living Water has been supporting Selwyn District Council to intensify the focus on waterway and lagoon management. We’re doing this by building capacity within the Council and supporting the development of a plan for the Lagoon along with weed control at priority sites.

Aerial view of Yarrs Lagoon


  • Restoration of Tārerekautuku / Yarrs Lagoon
  • Increased environmental management of the drainage and water network
  • Building environmental capacity and capability in local government


  • A Memorandum of Understanding and grant to Selwyn District Council from 2016 to 2018 to co-fund a Biodiversity Coordinator role
  • Baseline environmental assessment work completed to support the development of a Tārerekautuku / Yarrs Lagoon Management Plan
  • Support for the Council’s preparation of a Statutory Management Plan for the Lagoon
  • Willow control at key sites in the Lagoon since 2016
  • The Biodiversity Coordinator is working alongside the Living Water Site Lead to progress waterway restoration initiatives across the catchment
  • Designed and implemented several waterway restoration trials in the drainage network
  • Advocated for the improvement of waterway management practices to accommodate ecological and cultural values
  • Selwyn District Council confirmed the Biodiversity Coordinator role as a full-time, permanent position from 2018
Investigating plants at Yarrs Lagoon

Implementation of Memorandum of Understanding

Completed June 2018

Progress: 100%

What's next

  • Continue to work with Selwyn District Council on the management of Tārerekautuku / Yarrs Lagoon with the aim that it becomes a wetland reserve valued by the community
  • Build on the relationship with Selwyn District Council to support the transformation of the waterway network into a healthy freshwater ecosystem in a productive agricultural landscape
  • Case study to be written