Water website gives clear story on rivers
Southland's rivers may be a bit murky but the information about them is now crystal clear.
A new website called Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (Lawa) was launched this week which displays the results of water-quality monitoring for rivers throughout the country.
For the first time, the public can access water quality data for river catchments across the country and compare results region to region for parameters such as E coli, nitrogen, phosphorus, clarity and pH.
In time, the website will also include data for coastal, land and air resources.
Land, Air, Water Aotearoa is a collaboration between New Zealand's 16 regional and unitary councils, the Ministry for the Environment, Cawthron Institute and Massey University.
Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms said the website was an innovative initiative and, as it developed, it would become the go-to site for all of the monitoring data regional councils held.
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said Land, Air, Water Aotearoa would provide useful benchmarks enabling everyone to see which rivers were doing well and those where water quality required attention.
The development of Land, Air, Water Aotearoa was supported by the Tindall Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation which aimed for better understanding by New Zealanders about what was happening in their rivers.
Co-founder Sir Stephen Tindall said he wanted to see the vision realised after experiencing difficulty in accessing clear information about the state of New Zealand rivers.
"As a family foundation we were keen to fund the Lawa website so that information on water quality is easily accessible to the public. And, by collecting data, we can identify problems early and see whether or not water quality is improving in any New Zealand river."
HOW RIVERS RATE
Overall rivers in Southland as compared to "like sites" across New Zealand.
In the worst 25 per cent of like sites for faecal bacteria E.coli.
In the worst 50 per cent for clarity.
In the worst 50 per cent for total nitrogen and total oxidised nitrogen with a trend of meaningful degradation.
In the worst 50 per cent of like sites for ammoniacal nitrogen, but with a trend of improvement.
In the worst 50 per cent for dissolved reactive phosphorus, but with a trend of improvement.
In the best 25 per cent of like sites for pH, but with a trend of degradation.
By river compared to "like sites " Mataura River at Gore In the worst 25 per cent for E.coli, nitrogen and oxidised nitrogen.
In the worst 50 per cent for black disc, turbidity and ammoniacal nitrogen.
In the best 50 per cent for dissolved reactive phosphorus and total phosphorus
In the best 25 per cent for pH. Aparima River at Thornbury
In the worst 25 per cent for E.coli and total oxidised nitrogen.
In the worst 50 per cent for black disc, turbidity, total nitrogen and ammoniacal nitrogen.
In the best 50 per cent for dissolved reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus.
In the best 25 per cent for pH. Oreti River at Centre Bush
In the worst 25 per cent for total oxidised nitrogen.
In the worst 50 per cent for E.coli, total nitrogen and ammoniacal nitrogen.
In the best 50 per cent for black disc, turbidity and dissolved reactive phosphorus.
In the best for total phosphorus and pH.
- The Southland Times
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