Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Study highlights pressure on Kakanui catchment water quality

26 November, 2012

Study highlights pressures on Kakanui catchment water quality

A ten month Otago Regional Council (ORC) study of water quality in the Kakanui catchment has revealed that water quality parameters have deteriorated in recent years, with many waterways exceeding nationally recognised guidelines for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) and E.Coli (bacteria).

ORC will continue to work closely with farmers throughout North Otago’s Kakanui catchment to ensure they implement practices to halt the increase in nutrients accumulating in the catchment aquifer and waterways, ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said.

Cr Woodhead said the study’s findings were not surprising, given the large increases in stock numbers, and the types of soils in the area. Some parts of the catchment had light soils with poor filtration qualities that would allow surplus nutrients through, especially nitrogen, while some of the downlands had denser soils which can drive nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into streams and rivers.

“This investigation provides new information for all of us. Everyone in the community needs to understand that this sort of deterioration of the environment is not sustainable,” Cr Woodhead said.

The report, which is to be tabled at ORC’s natural resources committee meeting on 29 November, indicates that if these trends were left unchecked, they would lead to nitrate accumulation in the Kakanui aquifer.

In addition, the high nutrient (NNN) concentrations provided by the lower Kakanui River and Waiareka Creek (dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP)) could stimulate the proliferation of algae in the Kakanui estuary.

The report noted that land use and farming practices were likely contributors to the problem. Dairy farming had increased in recent years, and some farms did not have sufficient effluent storage.

Cr Woodhead said ORC planned to meet with local farming leaders to discuss its findings, and develop a strategy to improve the environmental outcomes for the area’s waterways.

Chairman of North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) Leigh Hamilton said the company will work with ORC to carefully analyse the report and understand how it relates to its activities.

“Our Audited Self-Management system is well embedded, and we have a framework in place to drive continuous improvement in farm practices amongst our shareholders,” he said.

“We have a long history of collaboration with ORC, and we are keen to work with them to face any issues head on, and contribute to the discussion around potential solutions,” Mr Hamilton said.

Cr Woodhead and Mr Hamilton said a lot of work was needed to satisfy community expectations around water quality, which would take time.

However, they said that well-thought out improvements to farm practices could bring about observable improvements in waterway health.

“We know there are improvements to be made on some farms to increase effluent storage, and top class effluent management is crucial throughout the catchment”, Cr Woodhead said.

“We know there are farmers who need to fence off stock access to waterways and fine tune their irrigation practices and nutrient budgets. We also know that the majority of farmers do not want to be shamed by prosecution and face hefty fines.”

“I will be recommending to the natural resources committee that we plan a community meeting for the New Year. We’ll work on strategic and practical approaches with NOIC and other farmers in the area, and present these along with the report to the wider community,” Cr Woodhead said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news