Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 28th, 2017 - 66 comments
Categories: national, quality of life, useless, water - Tags: brighter future, dirty water, national's legacy, water, water quality
‘Damning’ rivers and lakes report: Nitrogen levels rising, fish threatened
A major report out today makes a sweeping assessment of how our lakes and rivers are faring, and the news isn’t good. Science reporter Jamie Morton takes a look at what it reveals.
Another major stocktake has painted a grim picture of New Zealand’s freshwater environment, showing that nitrogen levels are rising and three-quarters of monitored native fish species are nearing extinction.
The 100-page report, published today by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, has been described as “damning” by the country’s largest independent environmental organisation, which is calling for a dramatic reduction in cow numbers.
The report, measuring a range of indicators including water quality and quantity, and the welfare of biodiversity, confirmed that urban waterways were the most polluted, but declining trends in pastoral areas were just as concerning. …
It’s a long and depressing summary, with sections titled: How polluted are our waterways? Native species on the brink, Our vanishing wetlands, Who’s taking the water? Freshwater issues ‘not new’ – minister. Newsroom summarises five takeaway points:
1. There’s a shocking amount we don’t know about our water.
2. Government swim-ability estimates are different from officials’ estimates and nobody yet has a good handle on how to measure it.
3. Canterbury farms account for about a quarter of New Zealand’s freshwater consumption … we think.
4. City water is facing a multi-billion dollar stormwater problem, and animal urine is an amazingly potent rural polluter.
5. Whitebait is in dire straits, and there’s a real prospect we will lose some of our other native fresh water species, too. …
NZ needs to act now on rivers, top official warns
New Zealand cannot afford to wait to address the problems with fresh water, Ministry for the Environment head Vicky Robertson says.
A landmark report from the ministry, released today, describes serious challenges facing the country’s rivers and outlines how fresh water is under increasing pressure from agricultural and urban areas.
The report found freshwater biodiversity was declining and 72 percent of native fish were threatened or at risk of extinction – as were about a third of freshwater plants and invertebrates.
The Environmental Defence Society called today’s report alarming. Its chief executive, Gary Taylor, said the report laid the problems with fresh water bare.cHe said farmers should be required to obtain resource consents for agricultural land use in sensitive catchments, to set maximum levels of stock.
“It’s all very well setting water quality limits in a national policy statement and in a regional plan … but in the end I think we need to reduce the size particularly of the dairy herd in New Zealand by about a third. “Particularly in these more sensitive catchments where we’ve got serious pollution.”
Federated Farmers said it did not want more regulation on land use and farmers were already doing the work to help restore degraded water. …
In related news see:
New water guidelines labelled “sneaky backdoor attack”
Federated Farmers: It’s damn lies and alternative facts
When the river runs dry: The true cost of NZ water
“No-one owns water”
National is ruining our rivers
This current National government isn’t going to leave much in the way of a legacy. Does it really want to be remembered for allowing the poisoning of our water?
— MfE (@mfe_news) April 26, 2017
Govt report today's says rivers in crisis due to dairy intensification. While PM gleefully spends $480m to subsidise dairy intensification
— Russel Norman (@RusselNorman) April 27, 2017