A new way to manage water in Canterbury aims to ensure allocation for water use is no longer decided on a first-in first-served basis.
The draft Canterbury water management strategy was released on Thursday.
It favours dividing Canterbury into 10 zones which would monitor and manage their own water issues, rather than the majority of water allocations being decided at a regional council level.
Ashburton District Mayor Bede O'Malley, who chaired the steering group, says the way water is currently managed in the wider Canterbury region has led to adverse environmental outcomes.
Mr O'Malley says the draft strategy was developed by a large and diverse group of people: mayors, central and local government officials, and interested groups.
Because of that, he does not foresee much opposition to the strategy being adopted at the end of six weeks consultation.
However, he acknowledges many major issues are still to be resolved. They include a pay-by-use scheme for water.