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Wai Care for Auckland streams

Wai Care for Auckland streams

Wai Care – the programme that empowers Auckland communities to monitor the water quality of their streams and take steps to restore stream health – has grown over the past three years to involve more than 50 volunteer groups, including 14 community and school groups in Auckland City.

"There’s much interest out there from people wanting to get involved in Wai Care because the programme fits in so well with the school curriculum," says Councillor Bill Christian, chair of Auckland City Council's Works Committee.

Auckland City Council’s environmental planning department today updated the Works Committee on recent activities of the Wai Care programme, including the local success story of the Ministry for the Environment’s Green Ribbon Award to the Friends of the Whau for their work on cleaning up the Whau River.

The Works Committee was unanimous in expressing its support and appreciation for the Wai Care programme as a great community initiative.

Urban streams in the Auckland region are under constant threat from pollution, and many are already severely degraded. Many of the problems stem from fluctuating flows and reduced levels of dissolved oxygen.

The Wai Care groups are armed with a simple kit that outlines sample techniques and how to test for levels of dissolved oxygen and nitrates in streams. Groups are also encouraged to develop rubbish removal and riparian planting plans to alleviate the potential effects of fluctuating flow and reduced levels of dissolved oxygen.

"Wai Care gives people a hands-on understanding of the problems facing the environment, so they can actively become part of the solution. Most of the pollution we have in our urban streams comes from domestic rather than industrial sources,” says Bill Christian.

The Wai Care programme was a joint initiative by councils throughout the Auckland region and is funded solely by the participating local authorities. Member councils on the Wai Care Steering Group are currently drafting a proposal on future management and funding options for Wai Care.

To find out more about Wai Care, visit the website http:// http://www.waicare.org.nz or contact Auckland City on 379 2020.

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