Summer newsletter


On 5 December ECan’s Commissioners accepted the recommendations made by independent commissioners on submissions on the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan (pLWRP).

The revised pLWRP will be notified on 18 January 2014, from which date regard must be had to it when making decisions on consent applications such as transfers.

Submitters may lodge appeals to the High Court on points of law only, so it is anticipated that the plan will be fully operative before the end of next year.

Transfers will continue to be allowed as restricted discretionary activities under Rule 5.133 (unless prohibited in a sub-regional section), subject to a number of fairly standard conditions (eg an annual volume required, well interference effects must be acceptable, minimum flow and allocation limits must be complied with etc).

HydroTrader’s submission that the requirement to surrender a portion of most types of transfers was illegal was accepted in part, to the extent that the rule no longer specifies how much must be surrendered. This will now be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Transfers that don’t comply with the conditions of Rule 5.133 will be processed as non-complying activities under Rule 5.134.

This all doesn’t seem too bad for those hoping to trade (transfer) water permit allocations, but the catch is that sub-regional chapters are being developed that will place much more restrictive conditions on transfers, as you’ll read in the next item.


Sometime next year ECan will notify a variation to Section 11 of the pLWRP, covering the Selwyn - Waihora Zone.

In October of this year ECan released an addendum to the Selwyn - Waihora ZIP, which sets out a number of recommendations from the Selwyn - Waihora Zone Committee to ECan for changes to Section 11.  While these may not all be adopted as is, they give us a cler picture of the general direction being taken.

Recommendation 2.6 deals with transfers in the Rakaia - Selwyn and Selwyn - Waimakarriri Groundwater Zones, and includes the following:

  • 50% of the transferred water is surrendered, otherwise the transfer is prohibited; 
  • prohibit the transfer of groundwater from below SH1 to above;
  • allow the temporary transfer (e.g. for five years) of groundwater permits by CPW shareholders to CPW Ltd without requiring the surrender of any water; and
  • prohibit the permanent transfer of groundwater permits by CPW shareholders or those entitled to be supplied with CPW water.

Obviously this will have a significant impact on trading within these groundwater zones, by halving the value of permit allocations, and severely reducing the number of potential buyers due to not being able to trade from below to above SH1.

The "take home message" is simple.  Trade now to get the best return on your investment.


Appeals on points of law have been resolved by mediation, and the Hurunui & Waiau River Regional Plan (HWRRP) will be made operative on 20 December 2013.

Transfers of surface water and groundwater are allowed as restricted discretionary activities under Rules 12.1 and 12.2 respectively, subject to standard conditions.  Failure to meet these conditions makes the transfer a discretionary activity, except where the allocation and minimum flow regimes are not complied with, in which case the transfer is prohibited.

Effectively all surface water allocations are already fully allocated, but grouyndwater allocations are a long way from their limits.


To further encourage trading before further restrictions kick in, HydroTrader is reducing its success fee for all new deals initiated from the date of the release of this newsletter, until the end of January 2014.

So our fee will drop from 4.95 to 3% of the value of the trade, except where this is less than $2,900 (+GST), which is the minimum charged.


This week we've listed a groundwater permit with an annual volume of between 800,000 and 900,000m3 in our most popular trading area, the Selwyn - Waimakariri Groundwater Zone.

It's not subject to adaptive management conditions, and has an expiry date in 2035.

There can't be many more permits like this available, so get your offers in quickly!


There are allocations for sale in most of the major groundwater zones in Canterbury.  These are all listed under "Permits to Trade" on the home page of our website. 


David Hendrikz, the helpful guy most often at the end of our 0508 number, continues to be kept busy with water permit valuations.

As noted in the Autumn newsletter, HydroTrader can assist you by valuing your water permit or the allocation you're seeking, with a "ballpark estimate" of a single (straightforward) water permit, sent by e-mail, costing just $125 (+GST).

A more detailed estimate, with a full explanation of assumptions and limitations, sent by letter, costs $295 (+GST).

A cost estimate will be provided for more complex cases (e.g. multiple consents, irrigation schemes etc) which will be charged on an hourly basis.

To obtain a valuation you can e-mail us at or phone us on 0508 HYDROTRADER.