River water quality trends released this week are cause for optimism, and credit is due to all those working hard to make a difference in Southland, including land users, businesses, iwi, and community groups.
The results released by Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) show that for all rivers monitored for water quality in Southland over a 10-year period, more sites were improving than deteriorating. This is the same in Southland, as it is nationally.
Environment Southland water quality scientist Roger Hodson said the results were encouraging.
“If the trend continues in the same direction, we could look forward to seeing an improvement in the state of water quality and freshwater ecosystem health in the future. This of course depends on continuing this momentum and expanding work to improve water quality. Growth of and support for Environment Southland’s water improvement work programme will be a key factor.”
Environment Southland regularly monitors water quality at 60 river and stream locations around Southland. The results are freely available on the LAWA website – www.lawa.org.nz – where anyone can explore the detail of their local rivers’ current state of health, and see if there are any trends.
Water quality is affected by multiple factors such as rural and urban land use, erosion and climate. The LAWA website connects New Zealanders with environmental data, so they can make informed decisions and be meaningfully engaged in solutions.
LAWA is collaboration between Environment Southland and New Zealand’s other 15 regional and unitary councils, the Cawthron Institute, and the Ministry for the Environment.