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

 

Water website a first for New Zealand

18 March 2014

Water website a first for New Zealand

A new website housing water quality data from New Zealand’s freshwater monitoring sites was launched in Wellington today.

Fran Wilde, chair of the Regional Council Sector Group, Local Government New Zealand said the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website would provide a wide range of information that will help New Zealanders make good choices about using and enjoying our highly valued resource – fresh water.

“Never before has there been such a focus on the state of New Zealand’s freshwater but until now there has been no single place to access information about the quality of our rivers,” said Fran Wilde.

“Freshwater is a vital asset to our country and its important that the public can see and understand for themselves the state of a particular river or catchment and how it may be affected by what’s going on around it,” she said.

The LAWA website is a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils, the Ministry for the Environment (MFE), Cawthron Institute and Massey University.

A New Zealand first, LAWA displays state and trend information for over 1100 freshwater monitoring sites, giving the public access to all of the country’s water quality monitoring in one place and in a common, easy to understand format.

Regional councils measure a range of parameters when assessing water quality. The most common are bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorous, water clarity and acidity. LAWA allows users to see where a river or catchment sits in comparison to others for each parameter and indicates whether things are improving, degrading or remaining stable.

To give the public assurance around the accuracy of the data displayed, New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation, the Cawthron Institute, has partnered with the councils and MFE to validate the way the data is collected, processed and analysed.

“We’re excited to partner with regional councils and the Ministry in what we see as a truly innovative project bringing complex science into an easily accessible and understandable format,” said Cawthron’s chief executive Charles Eason.

“Many people can so often be put off by overly complex scientific information but we believe LAWA has simplified the science and allows everyone to connect with what’s going on in their river.”

The development of LAWA was supported by the Tindall Foundation, a philanthropic family foundation. Co-founder, Sir Stephen Tindall was keen to see the vision of LAWA realised, after experiencing difficulty in accessing clear information about the state of New Zealand rivers.

“I have a personal interest in this project because I love swimming and love our waterways. I spend every summer holiday with my family around the water swimming, fishing and kayaking,” said Sir Tindall.

“To me, the fact that the quality of our waterways is on the decline, is a horrifying thought. As a family Foundation we were keen to fund the LAWA website so that information on water quality is easily accessible to the public. And, by collecting data, we can identify problems early and see if water quality is improving or not. Then we can see how we can help, and encourage others to do the same. This is about preserving our rivers and fresh waterways for the future to ensure the safeguarding of our ecosystems our clean green image and to protect our beaches too.”

LAWA also allows people to share information about what’s happening in waterways.

“Everyone has a responsibility to look after our rivers and we want people to be able to use LAWA to tell us and others what’s going on in their local waterway,” explained Ms Wilde.

“People can use the site to share news, report pollution or promote river-related events such as clean-up days or riparian plantings.

Ms Wilde said that work is now underway on developing LAWA’s next modules which will be water quantity and coastal water quality.

LAWA can be accessed at www.lawa.org.nz.

Click here for further information.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The
America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s...

Elite sport used to feel more like a collective, shared experience. It was our team, composed of people who lived and worked like us. Now, not so much. More>>

 

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog