The Urban Water Principles report released this month is a first step in tackling some big issues in a collaborative way.
Swimming is a popular activity in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Two attributes of waters that strongly affect aesthetic quality and safety for swimming are visual clarity and faecal contamination. It turns out that these two attributes are fairly well-correlated (inversely) in New Zealand rivers, such that (easily seen) visual clarity provides a rough-but-useful guide to (unseen) microbial quality.
A technical guide to the Periphyton Attribute Note under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) 2014 (as amended 2017) has been released, as a draft, this month by the Ministry for the Environment.
Demand for water has intensified over the past two decades at a phenomenal rate in New Zealand. Most easy-to-abstract direct run-of-stream resources (i.e. flows without existing upstream modification) are already highly allocated in many regions. With availability of further run-of-stream resources decreasing, farmers are looking more to water storage as a way of achieving more reliable irrigation water supply. This approach allows more water to be made available at the time of need and thus enhances supply reliability.
Te Waikoropupū Springs near Takaka are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold-water springs in the Southern Hemisphere, and are nationally and internationally valued for their remarkable colour and clarity. NIWA has recently finished a project with Tasman District Council (TDC) that has estimated the current average visual clarity to be around 76 m.