Regions rivers celebrated on World Rivers Day with latest data released

29 September 2014

As Horizons Regional Council staff and volunteers celebrated World Rivers Day across the region, regional councils have been releasing their latest state and trend river data on the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website.

World Rivers Day aims to highlight the value of rivers, increase public awareness and encourage stewardship of rivers across the world. Sites at locations from Taumarunui, to Wanganui, Sanson and even the source of the Manawatu were busy today with staff carrying out planting and maintenance along streams and river banks.

In the meantime, visitors to the LAWA website will be able to access state and trend data from 2004 to 2013 for rivers at a regional, catchment and site level.

Within the Horizons region the majority of sites have showed an improving or no significant trend for total oxidised nitrogen and dissolved reactive phosphorus over the ten year period. Of the 16 sites monitored, 44% have improving total oxidised nitrogen with 56% found to have no significant trend. In the case of the 17 sites monitored for dissolved reactive phosphorus, 53% are improving and 47% have no trend.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon believes the trends reveal an encouraging improvement in our Region’s waterways.

“There is plenty of work to be done, but the good news is we are on the right track,”

“With initiatives such as the Manawatu River Leaders Accord and the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) programme, communities, local government, iwi, industry and landowners are working together towards a common goal and over time we are all contributing to the improving health of our waterways.”

The site which has revealed the most improvement in the Horizons Region is on the Oroua River at Awahuri Bridge. This location, downstream of the Feilding wastewater treatment plant has improved in most parameters measured, including dissolved reactive phosphorus, ecoli, clarity and turbidity.

“This is a pleasing result which is most likely attributed to a range of work which has been carried out in the upper catchment on farms including fencing of water ways, effluent management and efforts to control hill country erosion through the SLUI programme, along with upgrades to the Feilding wastewater treatment plant,” says Horizons science manager Dr. Jon Roygard.

The Manawatu Freshwater Clean-up fund project has contributed to several projects undertaken in the Oroua recently, including upgrades to the Kimbolton and Feilding sewage treatment plants as well as fencing and planting programmes that have been strongly supported by the community and farmers.  

“It is important to keep in mind that water quality improvement is not usually attributable to any one single factor but it is a range of actions undertaken by numerous parties, which leads to significant results.”   

All of the river data state and trends for the Horizons region can be viewed at www.lawa.org.nz. The regional council information that is used on the LAWA website will also contribute to a new national environmental reporting regime being designed by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.

Work is also currently underway on other environmental indicators for LAWA, beginning with recreational beach monitoring which will be available on LAWA this summer.