Wellington's dirty water revealed
Wellington's dirty water revealed by areaLANE NICHOLS
METRO CHIEF REPORTER
Overuse, pollution and "degradation" of Wellington's water has been exposed in new research evaluating the region's natural resources.
How does your area fare?
Harbour floor contaminated with lead, copper and zinc from urban stormwater. Evans Bay and Lambton Basin worst affected.
Most beaches good and suitable for swimming most of the time.
Pencarrow lakes rated highly in 2011 aquatic vegetation surveys.
Hutt River unsuitable for swimming or dog-walking during low flow periods due to algae. Its lower reaches have also recorded high counts of E. coli.
Freshwater demand has increased over past few decades, in response to population growth.
Lake Waitawa has excess nutrients, "toxic" algal blooms.
Only two-thirds of regular soil samples from 2000-10 scored well.
Artesian aquifers in Waikanae and Te Horo being monitored after significant water level decline since 1994.
Sediment, nutrient and stormwater contaminants affect harbour's "ability to support life, and its overall ecological health".
Beaches sometimes not safe for swimming due to sewage and stormwater pollution.
Onepoto Arm has heavy metals above early warning guidelines and zinc building up in sediment.
Air quality "well within" national public health standards.
Lake Wairarapa has second-worst lake health rating.
Aquifers heavily depleted, with some at risk of becoming unsustainable. Most of the increased water usage since 1990 attributed to dairy irrigation.
Most soil healthy but vegetable growing and dairying affecting soil health with low carbon and high phosphorus levels.
Air quality mostly clean but home fires cause pollution on still, cold winter nights.
Eastern Wairarapa Hills
Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches almost always good for swimming.
Has most of the erosion-prone farmland in the Wellington region.
Soil stability still a problem, with fine sediment runoff into rivers, streams and sea.
Intertidal sands at Castlepoint Beach clean and well-oxygenated.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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