Mayor Reese Supports Local Government Leaders’ Water Declaration
Friday 27 October
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese has joined the Mayors and Chairs of New Zealand Local Government as they declare their continuing commitment to valuing and managing water as a precious resource.
The Local Government Leaders’ Water Declaration outlines an ongoing commitment to:
Continue to make water a key priority
Work with our communities to improve our freshwater
Provide information on the state of our freshwater
Be clear about the costs of improving our water
The Declaration also calls on the Government of the day to
Take an integrated approach to water
Quantify the costs of meeting increased standards
Work with local government to meet the costs to improve water quality
Work with local government to be world leaders in water management
“We work every day to deliver better water outcomes – it is core business for Council,” says Mayor Reese.
“We are well aware that managing our water infrastructure for businesses, the primary sector and our urban communities will bring increasing challenges in the management of our freshwater, and that these demands will be exacerbated by climate change.
“Council has been proactively working with our communities on freshwater improvement – most notably through Project Maitai/Mahitahi and Nelson Nature.”
Now in its fourth year, Project Maitai/Mahitahi has taken a community focussed cross-council approach to river restoration. Short-term results include improvement in E.coli levels at key swimming sites, largely thanks to infrastructure improvements to better manage stormwater pollution.
Other initiatives have included extensive riparian planting, construction of wetlands and swales and removal of fish passage barriers, which will have a beneficial effect on river health in the longer term.
As a result, the Maitai River has shown meaningful trend improvement across a range
of river health parameters, as shown in Land Air Water Aotearoa monitoring results. In 2016 it was awarded the second most improved river at the New Zealand River Awards based on macro-invertebrate index trends.
Project Maitai/Mahitahi is strongly community-faced and engages with iwi, private landowners, schools, researchers, contractors, businesses and community groups such as the Friends of the Maitai. The project has grown support for restoration work, increased community activity and raised awareness of the need to care for our rivers.
“The Maitai River is our tupuna awa (ancestral river) for the Iwi of Whakatu,” says Mayor Reese. “It provides our drinking water and is a key recreational asset, but it’s also at the cultural heart of our community. Signing this declaration underscores our commitment to seeing all our river catchments protected and enhanced for future generations, and to continuing the work of Nelson Nature across all our rural and urban water catchments.”