Water

Hawke’s Bay winegrowing future uncertain in face of water order

[5 December/ NZ Herald] Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Legal Counsel, James Gardner Hopkins said winegrowers could live with some form of water conservation order on the upper Ngaruroro River, and it aligned with the association’s industry sustainability values so it could conditionally support it. However, Mr Hopkins added that this support was based on multiple...

EPA chief scientist says irrigation good for environment

[27 November/ Otago Daily Times] Environment Protection Authority Chief Scientist, Jacqueline Rowarth said irrigation, when carefully managed, was greatly beneficial to the environment. Ms Rowarth explained that irrigation led to organic matter growing in the soil, schedules being met, and therefore happy bank managers because farmers could guarantee their income stream. Ms Rowarth added that...

New Zealand’s most improved river is in irrigation territory

[23 November/ Stuff] The Pahau River in North Canterbury has been awarded the supreme prize for the most improved river at the annual River Awards. The award was based on the Hurunui river showing the most significant decline in E coli levels over the last 10 years as it achieved reductions of 15.6 percent a...

Joint efforts on water quality

[12 November/Otago daily times] At a meeting in Omakau last week, local farmers and the Otago Regional Council discussed their water quality improvement strategy with Environmental Resource Scientist Rachel Ozanne and Environmental Officer Melanie Heather. The strategy involves ongoing testing of water at Thompson’s creek, Waipiata and Bannockburn. Testing began six weeks ago and will...

Stricter river flows likely to stay in Tukituki catchment

[7 November/ New Zealand Herald] CHB water users have appealed to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to extend the deadline to meet new minimum flow and allocation limits under its plan change for the Tukituki catchment. To overcome the Plan Change Six (PC6) challenges, many water users had signed up to the abandoned Ruataniwha Water Storage...

Further doubts raised over CHB wastewater plants

[7 November/New Zealand Herald] An independent review of the Waipukurau and Waipawa wastewater treatment plants has raised serious concerns in its initial findings. The review was issued by the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council following ongoing odour issues and breaches of resources conditions for ammonia levels. The company which built them, Waterclean Technologies, was now...

Kiwis united on water quality, Fonterra chairman says

[6 November/Stuff] Fonterra Chairman John Wilson spoke at the dairy co-operative’s annual meeting on Thursday on the myth of the rural-urban divide when it comes to water quality. He confirmed that farmers were just as committed to achieving swimmable rivers as anyone else. He was disappointed that the supposed divide had been leveraged for political...

Federated Farmers: Pledges kick-start next phase for RiverWatch

[24 October/New Zealand Herald] Riverwatch recently achieved its $50,000 funding target from a PledgeMe campaign launched on August 9. The 2016 WWF Conservation Innovation Award-winning water quality tester is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi enabled floating sensor unit that measures water quality over a sustained period. The founders of Water Action Initiative (WAI) NZ, Wairarapa Farmer Grant...

Deteriorating harbour conditions prompt review

[19 October/New Zealand Herald] Waitaki District Council’s new chief executive has ordered an immediate legal review of respective agency responsibilities surrounding the Oamaru Harbour and associated maritime activities. The review was announced as concerns were raised about the difficulties a disabled yacht faced trying to enter the harbour this weekend. John Burton, a specialist in...

Health warning issued for Otautu Bay on Lake Rotoehu

[19 October/New Zealand Herald] A health warning has been issued for Otautu Bay on Lake Rotoehu due to the presence of algal blooms likely due to the potentially toxic blue-green algae. Sampling has been undertaken to confirm this. People have been advised to avoid any activity which results in significant contact with the lake. Contact...

Rise in Taranaki groundwater nitrate levels coincide with increased dairying

[18 October/Stuff] A Taranaki Regional Council report has confirmed that the rise in dairy production in the region over the past five years has seen a corresponding increase in the groundwater nitrate levels. Overall analysis of groundwater showed nitrate concentrations in Taranaki were low. The council analysed more than 530 water samples from 35 shallow...

Kaikoura farmers face radical changes

[12 October/ Farmers Weekly] Project Manager and Environment Canterbury Land Adviser Jodie Hoggard said areas of the Kaikoura Plains were so wet that the council and industry groups such as DairyNZ and Fonterra were looking to Southland and Waikato for advice. Farmers reported some bores have dried while other areas were now suitable for wetlands....

Study finds small stream challenges

[12 October/ Farmers Weekly] Underwater quality standards streams not wider than a stride are not required to be fenced. Over three-quarters of the nutrient load in waterways comes from those exempted from fencing requirements. However, the wider than a stride, deeper than a Redband standard may be insufficient if the rural sector was to continue...

Rivers need to be protected for all, says ecologist

[8 October/ New Zealand Herald] Massey University Freshwater Ecologist Dr Mike Joy noted Water Conservation Orders (WCO) are a good idea, especially for the Hawkes Bay. 15 New Zealand rivers currently have WCOs placed on them, and applications are in progress for an additional three including for the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers. Dr Joy said...

Denitrification wall could be answer to nitrate problems

[4 October/ Stuff] A proposed nitrate wall implemented into Silverstream Reserve near Kaiapoi to lower the steam’s high nitrate levels may improve the safety of freshwater and groundwater resources and potentially provide means for farming within water quality limits. The Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research planned to evaluate whether the wall, successfully used with...

Unfenced streams major source of water contamination

[5 October/ Radio New Zealand] New research by AgResearch Invermay’s Environment Group reveals smaller streams account for the majority of contamination in waterways. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, discovered that streams less than 1 metre wide and 30cm deep in flat catchments dominated by pasture accounted for, on average, 77 percent...

Council ‘won’t stand still’ on water quality

 [25 September/ Stuff] Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) Chairman David MacLeod says the council won’t wait for the national debate on water quality to settle down before taking further action. Chairman David MacLeod said the Riparian Management Scheme was New Zealand’s largest streambank fencing and planting programme and was producing dividends for Taranaki in improving trends...

Accord Fund opens for water projects

[18 September/ NZ Herald] Applications for the Manawatu River Leaders’ Accord community grants programme have opened. The grants aimed to assist non-profit organisations such as community groups and schools with projects that would help increase engagement with Manawatu waterways and improve water quality in the catchment. Previous applications had received funding to complete stream fencing,...

Irrigation could pump millions into Northland – study

[7 September/ Rural News Group] A new study suggests major irrigation projects in Kaipara and the mid-north of Northland could create hundreds of jobs and boost the regional economy by tens of millions annually. The $300,000 study, Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland, was jointly paid for by the regional council and central government....

New water battle looming in Hawke’s Bay in wake of the failed Ruataniwha Dam plan

[7 September/ Stuff] A new dispute over water in Hawke’s Bay has erupted with conservationists and recreational boat users opposing orchardists and irrigators in the Ngaruroro River catchment. Opponents to a Water Conservation Order application on the catchment are organising a protest rally on September 19. In December 2015 five parties applied for a water...

Protesters arrested for occupying irrigation dam

 [7 September/ Radio NZ] Nine Greenpeace protesters have been arrested for trespassing at an irrigation dam west of Christchurch after an eight-hour standoff. The protesters set up a makeshift camp inside the dam, which has yet to be filled with water. Greenpeace wanted to raise awareness of a widespread public opposition to irrigation schemes on...

Fert co-op backs farmer water group

[5 September/ Rural News Group] Ravensdown Chair John Henderson has strongly supported The Farming Leaders’ Pledge, a pledge by New Zealand farming leaders to help make New Zealand rivers swimmable for future generations. The pledge was signed by NZ pastoral farming leaders representing at least 80 percent of farmed land. Mr Henderson said Ravensdown does...

Green Party unveils plan for healthy rivers

[2 September/ NZ Herald] The Green Party has announced its plan for healthy rivers and sustainable dairying. This plan involves putting a nitrate pollution levy on dairy farmers to pay for the clean-up of New Zealand rivers. The levy is expected to raise $136.5 million in the first year, and this will be invested in...

Women oppose water policy

[1 September/ Otago Daily Times] A group of Maniototo women are preparing to campaign against Labour’s water policy, as they believe a royalty on irrigation water would be the theft of a fair return on decades of farmer investment. The group, Water Maniototo, released a video portraying a “positive image” of Maniototo farming and showing...