A minute with Marco – December

Welcome to 'A minute with Marco' - Kaikōura zone delivery lead Marco Cataloni's monthly column.

Kaikōura zone delivery lead Marco Cataloni

Kaikōura zone delivery lead Marco Cataloni

Kia ora everyone! For those who I haven't met yet, I've recently taken on the role of Kaikōura zone delivery lead for Environment Canterbury. My role also covers the Hurunui Waiau Uwha zone.

Prior to this I was the zone delivery lead for Waimakariri for approximately five years. I've been getting to know the Kaikōura zone during this time through Kev Heays' eyes. I have been enjoying getting to know more of the area, and of course, more of the local community.

For all Environment Canterbury-related matters, please feel free to call the local office on 03 319 5781 where one of the team will be able to help.

For my first column, and while it's beginning to warm up, I wanted to highlight some key messages to remember for the summer.

Irrigation efficiency

Water is a precious resource - particularly in dry summer periods when irrigation is at its peak. Canterbury has over 500,000 ha of irrigated land, so it's important those who irrigate are aware of best practice and irrigation efficiency.

Well-managed irrigation systems protect water quality and quantity, save on pumping costs, and protect soil structure, retaining valuable nutrients.

Keeping irrigators off the roads and within your property boundary is vital for others' safety - especially as summer often brings increased road traffic.

Finally, on this topic, it's important those carrying out irrigation connected to minimum flows keep up to date with the latest restrictions.

Can I Swim Here?

Hand holding a rock with slimy toxic algae on it.

A rock covered in toxic algae (cyanobacteria).

You may have heard of our annual campaign, Can I Swim Here? It's a great initiative which sees a bunch of popular swimming spots monitored over the summer period. This information is made freely available online to help arm you with the right information to choose your swimming spot wisely over summer.

To keep across where is safe to swim this summer make sure to check out the LAWA site.

Unfortunately, the risk of potentially toxic algae (cyanobacterial) blooms increases during warm sunny weather, and with stable river flows. Cyanobacteria blooms can make toxins that can harm people and animals. Dogs are especially at risk as they are attracted to the musty smell and will seek it out, so it's important they don't have access to rivers and lakes with these blooms.

The best way to keep you and your furry friend safe is to know how to identify potentially toxic algae yourself.

And remember, if you're in doubt about the water quality, do keep out.

Boating safety

Similarly, make sure you're safe on the water. Coastguard New Zealand has some great tips on this all around the key message 'know before you go.'

Make sure you're not only bringing but wearing a lifejacket when on a vessel. Skippers need to remember they are responsible for everyone on board, take two separate waterproof communication devices, always check the forecast before you go and avoid alcohol.

It's also important to remember that your boat (including jet skis) needs an identifying number on each side of the hull. The ID must be at least 90 millimetres high and be distinguishable to the naked eye from 50 metres away.

Find out more by visiting the Safer Boating website.

Looking ahead

As we approach the summer, I hope those taking a break get a good rest, and everyone has a happy, safe, and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period. Talk again next year!