Council: Water quality monitoring going well

Horizons Regional Council says it is well placed to measure how the region's waterways compare with the new national water standards.

There are 130 monitoring sites within the council's boundaries, including 76 within the Manawatu River catchment area, which group manager of regional services and information Ged Shirley says provide a good understanding of the region's water quality.

"Our monitoring programme provides us with a better regional picture of what's entering our waterways and how this affects the health of our rivers, lakes and streams," Shirley said.

The national water standards are a series of minimum standards established by the Government for New Zealand waterways. They were criticised by some freshwater scientists last week, including Massey University professor Mike Joy, for not going far enough.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon said the council would not necessarily be aiming to just comply with the standards. "They are a minimum standard which provide a clear direction at a regional level but also enable Horizons and our community to consider whether we want to go beyond those standards," he said. The establishment of the standards was the latest step towards regional councils working more cohesively on water quality.

Earlier this year Horizons was central in the launch of the Lawa website, which provides water quality data from 1100 monitoring sites across the country.

"Now that the minimum standards have been set by central government we can do a full assessment of where we are at to determine whether we meet the bottom line," Shirley said.

Manawatu Standard