Environment Canterbury welcomes LAWA river water quality national assessment

Environment Canterbury welcomes the latest river water quality assessment from Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA).

Chair Jenny Hughey said it was important to reflect on the state of all Canterbury rivers and streams, and particularly our iconic braided rivers on World Rivers Day.

Canterbury not alone in facing river water quality challenges

“The LAWA river water quality national picture summary from 2011 to 2021 shows Canterbury has similar challenges to the rest of the country,” Chair Jenny Hughey said.

“It’s a mixed picture at a high level showing little change over the last few years. Clearly though, the more intensive the land use (with urban being the most intensive), the poorer the water quality.

“This is the challenge we’ve been addressing here for several years, mainly via the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

"Much has been done but there is more to do. The Government’s Essential Freshwater package, which includes the important concept of Te Mana o te Wai (the health of the waterway comes first), gives national impetus to much of what we’re already doing in Canterbury," she said.

Measures underway to improve river health 

“In rural areas, we have auditable farm environment plans, nutrient limits and stock exclusion rules. Many of the rules have been further strengthened by local communities focusing on outcomes for their own catchments, and a new integrated plan for Canterbury will be needed by 2024,” Chair Hughey said.

“In both urban and rural environments, we’re seeing many restoration activities being undertaken by communities working collaboratively. This work needs to continue and Environment Canterbury and other organisations have mechanisms to support these activities.

“Every step we take will improve our rivers and streams, which is what we all want,” she said.

For more information, head to the LAWA site for the full press release.

Read more on efforts to restore and improve waterways