NIWA is working with DairyNZ, Regional Councils and farmers on a new project to evaluate riparian planting options that have economic as well as environmental benefits. The project is co-funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund. Read the article Research into productive riparian buffers on the DairyNZ website, or contact Dr Fleur Matheson.
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.
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.
The Irrigation Insight programme is focussed on developing knowledge, tools and the confidence of dairy farmers in better managing irrigation, precisely applying the water needed—where, when and how much.
There is growing interest in the use of freshwater macroinvertebrate species traits as an assessment tool for monitoring human impacts on stream ecosystems, but what exactly is a species trait?
Water New Zealand has recently published an update and expansion of the old Ministry of Works Guidelines for Oxidation Ponds 1974.
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.
Enthusiatic community members have been working with NIWA and Greater Wellington Regional Council staff to monitor water quality and other indicators of importance to people who recreate in the Hutt River near Poets Park.
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) has emerged as a form of development that, among other objectives, aims to deliver resilient water ways providing a range of benefits to urban communities. NIWA’s Urban Aquatic Environments group has investigated how resilience concepts provide a basis for discriminating between WSUD and conventional urban development approaches.
Didymo, a mat-forming freshwater diatom is now a familiar and unwelcome feature of many South Island rivers. In New Zealand, it is generally accepted that didymo is an introduced organism, but not everyone accepts that. New science provides a strong case for its ‘introduced organism’ status.
The long awaited National Environmental Monitoring Standard (NEMS) for Discrete Water Quality was released in draft form for public comment in October.
New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters are highly valued for swimming and other contact recreation activities. To satisfy both public health and state of the environment objectives, monitoring and reporting of the suitability of these waters for recreation must be meaningful and robust.