AWA data shows degradation of important river health indicators
Data released today by Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) show that degrading trends are more common than improving for
important river health indicators.
LAWA's National River Water Quality 10-year Trend Summary (2009-2018) shows that degradations are more common than
improvements for turbidity, total nitrogen (TN), total oxidised nitrogen (TON), faecal indicator bacteria (E. coli) and
Macroinvertebrate Community Index (MCI).
"Today's LAWA report confirms the findings of the Environment Aotearoa report earlier this year. That water quality is
poor and getting worse in many parts of the country," Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
"These reports confirm that Regional Councils have failed with their legal obligation under the RMA to protect the
environment for future generations.
"The data and science are clear - we must change what we are doing, which is why the Government's freshwater proposals
are so important. If intensive farming and urban waterways are not regulated, our kids will grow up thinking polluted
rivers and streams are normal."
A recent Colmar Brunton poll conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand showed that pollution of our rivers and lakes remains a top concern for Kiwis with two-thirds
expecting the Government to put rules and regulations in place to protect water quality.
"Three quarters - 77 per cent - of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of
lakes and rivers.
"These results show the depth of feeling kiwis have about the loss of what they considered their birthright - clean
rivers, lakes and streams.
"The Government needs to stop further degradation in water quality and to reverse past damage. The Government is
currently consulting on its Essential Freshwater program, which has the potential to fix New Zealand's freshwater
"Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams. We have a
once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle an issue Kiwis are deeply concerned about."
The National River Water Quality 10-year Trend Summary (2009-2018) is publicly available on the LAWA website and
Cawthron Institute led the analysis of trends.
The Colmar Brunton research can be found here