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Horizons welcomes National Water Standards

Horizons Regional Council

7 July 2014

Horizons welcomes National Water Standards

Horizons Regional Council welcomes the National Water Standards which have been established by Central Government and made available to the public last week.

“They are a minimum standard which provide a clear direction at a regional level but also enable Horizons and our community to consider whether we want to go beyond those standards,” says Horizons chairman, Bruce Gordon,

“For example the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord has united community, industry and local government in their efforts to improve the health of the Manawatu River”.

Under the Accord, the Manawatu catchment is one of the most heavily monitored and studied catchments in New Zealand with samples taken at 76 sites. Of these sites, 17 are positioned directly downstream of point source discharges such as treated wastewater from towns or industrial discharges, enabling scientists to determine the impact of point source discharges and whether the discharges are improving in quality over time.

With assistance from Central Government’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund, the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord reported on improving trends in nutrient levels and levels of bacteria in April of this year.

When looking at the Region as a whole, Horizons have an extensive water monitoring programme in place, which assesses 130 river and lake sites across the Region on a monthly basis, providing a good understanding of the Region’s water quality.

“Our monitoring programme provides us with a better regional picture of what’s entering our waterways and how this affects the health of our rivers, lakes and streams,” says Horizons group manager regional services and information, Ged Shirley.

“The establishment of the National Water Standards is another step towards working cohesively around reporting standards across the sector, with the groundbreaking LAWA website already providing an opportunity to inform and educate the public about water quality in our communities.”

The LAWA website is a collaborative project between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils and central government, which displays state and trend information for over 1100 freshwater monitoring sites across the country in an easy to understand format.

“Now that the minimum standards have been set by central government we can do a full assessment of where we are at to determine whether we meet the bottom line,” says Mr Shirley.


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