New Zealand has 425,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, almost 4,000 lakes larger than 1 hectare in size, and about 200 groundwater aquifers (Ministry for the Environment, 2010). By international standards, freshwater in New Zealand is both clean and in good supply. However, some aspects of water quality are getting worse in areas dominated by intensive land use. Demand for water is increasing, particularly in areas that are already water-stressed. Water pollution is becoming an ongoing problem for New Zealand. Both Urban and Rural land uses are creating pollution in our water and degrading the quality of our water. Growing demand for water …show more content…
Managing stock levels, planting vegetation at the edge of rivers and streams (riparian planting) and other sustainable farming practices all help reduce the levels of farm effluent, excess nutrients and chemicals entering waterways. The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord was created. This is a voluntary agreement between Fonterra Co-operative Group (the largest dairy company in New Zealand), regional councils and the Ministers for the Environment and of Agriculture and Forestry. This was signed in May 2003, to try and achieve clean, healthy waterways in dairying regions (Ministry for the Environment, 2008).
Urban land use and Freshwater
Cities and towns exhibit some of the most intensive land use in New Zealand. It is not surprising that some of our most degraded streams are in these urban areas. Storm water runoff has the greatest effect on urban water quality and also on the flows of urban water. Action needs to be taken now to prevent further decline in water quality of urban waters, and to protect our pristine water bodies. The Government is developing national policies, such as the proposed National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, to ensure that these objectives are met. Methods to improve discharges could include improved discharge treatment, riparian planting, wetland restoration and public education programmes, as well as improved