MfE publishes Our Fresh Water 2017 report
The Our Fresh Water 2017 report was released on Thursday. The report supports the immediate need for government reforms to improve the management of fresh water, said Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.
The report highlights that New Zealand’s fresh water challenges vary significantly across the country and that the problems have arisen due to agricultural and urban development over many decades. The overall picture is that pollution from nitrates is increasing, from phosphates is decreasing, from E. coli is stable and that water clarity had been deteriorating but has improved over the past decade.
It confirms that New Zealand’s most significant fresh water quality challenge is diffuse nitrate pollution. While the problem is more acute in urban environments, the negative effects impact on a greater number of rivers and lakes in rural, pastoral environments. The first caps on nitrates were set in 2011 in Taupo and now 18 catchments have limits, as the Government’s National Policy Statement on Fresh Water is implemented. This progress will need to continue if these long-term negative trends on nitrates are to be reversed.
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