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Bay of Plenty region

River Quality

The Bay of Plenty's rivers and streams provide a range of economic benefits and have important ecological, recreational, aesthetic, and cultural values. Uses of the rivers and streams include municipal and industrial water supply, waste disposal, irrigation, frost protection and hydro-generation.

Loss of water quality can adversely affect these uses and values. Management of the environmental quality of rivers and streams in the Bay of Plenty is guided primarily by the Regional Water and Land Plan (RWLP). Objectives, methods and policies in this plan, and in the regional plan for the Tarawera River Catchment, aim to provide for the maintenance and enhancement of water quality and quantity.

Water classifications are included in regional plans as a guide for issuing resource consents for activities that might affect waterways. There are 60 river and stream sites included in the Bay of Plenty's Natural Environment Regional Monitoring Network (NERMN) water quality module and NIWA monitors an additional six sites.

While there are significant improving trends, the water quality of many rivers and streams is deteriorating. The main indicators of this are nutrients, bacteria and suspended solids/turbidity.