Hard work pays off as Wainuiomata River shows others a clean pair of heels
Wainuiomata River has scrubbed up well, being named Wellington region's most improved in the annual New Zealand River Awards.
Wellington Water chief executive Colin Crampton said a lot of work had been put into improving the water quality of the river.
"It's wonderful that the hard work of our staff and contractors has been recognised," he said.
Wastewater in rivers has been a leading cause of poor water quality, and both Wellington Water and Hutt City Council have been working to upgrade the wastewater network around the Wainuiomata catchment over the past nine years.
More than eight kilometres of wastewater mains were improved during that time, with leaky joints in the pipes being one of the most common issues fixed.
Educating rural property owners on maintaining on-site waste systems also went a long way towards helping clean up the river.
The New Zealand River Awards were judged by three representatives from the Cawthron Institute, NIWA and Dairy NZ. They looked at water samples from rivers, lakes and streams around the country and used insect life to judge how clean the water was.
Certain insects like dragonflies and midges as well as snails, worms and freshwater spiders thrive in clean water while others prefer a more polluted environment. By looking at insect life near the water, the judges could determine how clean it was.
For regional rivers in the awards, this meant looking at data stretching back at least five years.
Manager of the New Zealand River Awards, Andrew Gawith, said it was encouraging that more councils, communities and individuals recognised that the cumulative impact of many actions could help improve river health.
The awards are an annual event run by the New Zealand Rivers Trust and the Morgan Foundation.