Supporting action to improve Selwyn’s freshwater

It was a slightly different looking Selwyn Waihora water zone committee that met early this month.

We said goodbye to Te Rūnanga o Wairewa rūnanga representative Dr Benita Wakefield and community representative Paul Hodgson, and welcomed new members James Booker, Simon Bryant, Helen Troy and Khan McKay.

photo of Fiona

Selwyn Waihora water zone committee Co-Chair Fiona McDonald

Benita and Paul have made a huge contribution to the committee over the last few years, and we’ll miss their contribution to our mahi. On the other hand, we’re excited to incorporate the areas of expertise and interest that James, Simon, Helen and Khan bring to the committee.

Setting out our priorities

The Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee Action Plan 2021-2024 has now been published on the Selwyn Waihora water zone page.

It outlines our purpose and role, the expectations that councils have of us, and our priorities for the next three years.

These include supporting the Te Waihora co-governors as they work to restore the lake to a healthy state, enhancing opportunities for biodiversity, recreation and mahinga kai, investigating progress toward meeting nutrient loss targets and facilitating a community-wide approach to restore the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River to a healthy state.

These are lofty goals, but we are proud to support the many community groups also working toward these aims.

Protecting your drinking water source

The zone committee also discussed the outcome of our two water testing clinics, held in Darfield and Leeston earlier this year.

Our goal was to raise awareness among residents who have a private drinking water source, informing them of the need to get their water tested.

We certainly managed to raise awareness, with local and nationwide media coverage. So many people came to Leeston Library with water for testing that we had to turn some away.

The issue of what is a safe level of nitrate in drinking water has been the major source of media and public attention, but we stressed to people that pathogens like E. coli are of equal or greater concern, and you should send your private water for a lab test periodically.

With a large number of Selwyn residents getting their drinking water from a private source, we hope the message to check, test and protect is getting across.

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