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


Data Reveals The Impact Of Land Cover On River Water Quality

Today, the team at Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) released the annual update of New Zealand’s river water quality monitoring data. Data analysis by Cawthron Institute has revealed water quality is poorest in New Zealand’s urban waterways and a large percentage of rivers in catchments dominated by pasture are under pressure. Unsurprisingly, the best water quality is found at sites surrounded by native bush.

Cawthron Freshwater Ecologist Dr Roger Young led the analysis for the LAWA River Water Quality National Picture Summary (2010 – 2019) and said, “Looking across four key indicators of water quality, it’s clear that land cover, and by implication land use, has a strong effect on the health of our waterways.

“For the national level analysis, we focused on the state of our rivers and streams and looked at how this compares for different land cover types, and how it has changed over time. We found water quality was best in our native vegetation streams and worst in our urban waterways.

“Unfortunately, we found the overall state of E. coli, MCI (macroinvertebrate community index), ammonia toxicity, and DRP (dissolved reactive phosphorus) has not improved over the past 10 years and that more work and time is needed for the benefits of restoration efforts to become apparent,” said Dr Young.

Environment Canterbury Chief Scientist and LAWA River Water Quality Lead Dr Tim Davie said through improved regional council monitoring networks and science programmes, the sector is learning more about where the pressures are.

“Since 2015, the number of river and stream sites regularly monitored by the regional sector and reported on the LAWA website has increased by more than a third. This represents significant investment and a commitment to better understanding our freshwater quality and the interventions that can help.

“Interventions to improve river health include preventing sediment and nutrients entering waterways, upgrading infrastructure, using water sensitive urban design, restoring stream habitats, and ensuring appropriate flows.

“Regional sector science will continue to help inform freshwater management and restoration through regular monitoring, researching, and reporting. There’s a lot of work ahead to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai; the concept that the health of our waterways is paramount,” said Dr Davie. 

The LAWA project website shows the most up-to-date water quality data for rivers and streams monitored by regional and unitary councils, and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Here New Zealanders wanting to learn about local river water quality can explore the state and trends of monitored waterways in their catchment: www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/river-quality.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive and Ministry for the Environment Freshwater Implementation Group member James Palmer said the updated data released today adds weight to need for greater action on the ground to improve water quality.

“The LAWA River Water Quality National Picture Summary indicates that an acceleration of efforts is required to move the needle on freshwater improvements, and it provides further information on where the most degradation has occurred.

“The challenges at our urban, pastoral, and non-native forest monitoring sites shows the stress rivers are under following more than 150 years of population growth and changes to land use.

“While the Government’s Essential Freshwater package moves us in the right direction, to see meaningful progress in water quality is going to take time and will require a joined-up response from communities, industry, iwi, councils, and central government,” said Mr Palmer.

LAWA is a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils, Cawthron Institute, and Ministry for the Environment, with support from Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Herd Immunity Isn’t A Valid Option, And What’s With Our Reluctance To Wear Masks?

Herd immunity has recently bounced back into the headlines as a tool for managing Covid-19, and as a supposed alternative to lockdowns. In the US, a group of scientists was recently brought together in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts by a think tank funded by the Koch brothers. The assembled scientists signed the so called Barrington Declaration, which promotes herd immunity as a rational means of re-opening US public schools and the economy at large... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ... More>>


Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>


Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels