Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


NZ cannot afford to be complacent over quality water

NZ cannot afford to be complacent over quality water, UC expert says

July 1, 2013

While New Zealand may have abundant water resources, the world is facing a tremendous water shortage which is worsening with time.

With the world’s population growing by about 80 million people a year, the demand for freshwater increases at a staggering rate of 64 million cubic metres a year.

Access to safe water is as important as its quantity, University of Canterbury (UC) water expert and civil and natural resources engineer Dr Ricardo Bello-Mendoza says.

``Protecting the quality of New Zealand’s water is utterly important. This is a big challenge that must be addressed through change in attitudes.

``My research at UC aims to provide solutions by developing innovative technology for more effective and sustainable wastewater treatment. I am looking at how we can remove contaminants from water and, at the same time, recover nutrients or energy.

``I will look at what happens to micro-pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, during wastewater treatment and what is the best way to re-use treated wastewater without causing harm to our environment.’’

Dr Bello-Mendoza says global competition for water exists and there are increasing reports of conflicts over water in many countries.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has an abundance of high-quality water. It is estimated that the internal renewable freshwater resources per capita is more than 32,000 cubic metres. This is extremely high compared to other regions in the world, such as North Africa and South Asia, where the availability of water is around 286 and 1125 cubic metres per person, respectively.

``We cannot afford to be complacent. There are often events of water scarcity in some regions, like the West Coast.

``Global climate change adds uncertainty and increased risk to the availability of water resources over time as rain regimes change bringing sometimes droughts and sometimes floods.

``Up to 75 percent of New Zealand freshwater is used in agriculture and farming. As the production of food is being compromised by the scarcity of water in many regions of the world, New Zealand has an opportunity to sustain an increased production of food products to supply that demand.

``However, we must be careful that enhanced primary productivity does not come at a cost for our water resources. Activities such as farming and mining can respectively release nutrients and persistent pollutants and contaminate the water bodies if appropriate measures are not taken to prevent it.

``Even though New Zealand has abundant water resources, exporting water is impractical and expensive. We can, however, produce technology and know-how to help alleviate the global problem of water scarcity,’’ Dr Bello-Mendoza says.

 
Photos: Dr Ricardo Bello-Mendoza

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

OceanaGold: Man Killed In Waihi Mine Accident

A 29-year-old man had died following a work place accident at OceanaGold mine, Waihi last night. The man was killed after the front end loader he was in rolled down a slope. The accident happened at approximately 6.30pm on Thursday night. More>>

ALSO:

Constructing Consent: Annual Housing Consents Highest In Over A Decade

More than 29,000 new homes gained building consent in the year to June 2016, up 16 percent from the previous June year, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

ALSO:

War Against Weevil For Future Peas: “No Peas, No Weevil” Ban Now In Place In Wairarapa

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today placed a ban on growing peas within a specified area and placed controls on moving pea material (seed and untreated pea straw) within, in and out of this area for the next 2 years. More>>

ALSO:

Wood Producers: Crisis In New Zealand Log Supply

New Zealand wood processing leaders held a hui with senior government officials and political leaders in Whangarei yesterday to assess the acute log supply shortage to local mills in Northland. More>>

Consents And Taxes: Trustpower 'Very Disappointed' With Judgement

Trustpower is "very disappointed" with a Supreme Court ruling dismissing its bid to claim tax deductions on $17.7 million of project costs in a case closely watched by large-scale infrastructure developers. More>>

ALSO:

Fruitful Endeavours: Kiwifruit Exports Reach Record Levels

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news