Greenpeace is conducting free drop-in water testing in Ashburton today and in Temuka tomorrow, to enable households to check their drinking water for nitrate contamination.
Local residents are invited to bring 100mL of their bore water in a clean container to the Mid Canterbury Community House, 44 Cass St, Ashburton, anytime today between 10am - 2pm.
Greenpeace is running the testing event in conjunction with the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, and is conducting the testing using a spectrometer machine owned by the federation.
The testing comes as health concerns are being raised over high levels of nitrate contamination in drinking water supplies, including adverse birth outcomes and increased rates of bowel cancers.
Greenpeace senior campaigner Steve Abel says the testing is an essential service for the community, and will bolster understanding about nitrate contamination in New Zealand.
"Everyone should be able to trust that the water from their tap is clean and safe. Unfortunately, nitrate contamination is a growing concern for people in areas with intensive dairying, such as Canterbury, Southland and Waikato. Bore owners in these regions deserve to know what’s happening with their water," says Abel.
"Nitrate contamination of drinking water has been linked to health concerns ranging from bowel cancer to premature births. We know what is causing this spike in nitrate contamination in our drinking water: too much synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, too many cows, and too much cow urine.
"Local and central governments need to act fast to ensure safe drinking water for our communities by phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, lowering cow stocking rates and supporting farmers to shift to regenerative organic farming."
Greenpeace is calling on the Government to lower the limit for nitrate contamination in water from 11.3mg/L to 0.87mg/L in line with international research, and act on it by phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, lowering cow stocking rates and supporting farmers to shift to regenerative organic farming.