Questions to be asked about the future of land and water management
This week the Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee met to decide on a round of questions they will ask the Ruamāhanga River catchment community in mid-2016 as it works to progress land and water management decisions in the Ruamahanga River catchment.
"Water quality is proving a hot topic across New Zealand and it is timely for the Ruamāhanga River community to further develop its conversation about its aspirations for the catchment's waterways," says Peter Gawith, RWC Chairperson. We all need water. Water quality is everyone's responsibility - from those washing pollutants into urban drains, wastewater systems managers and farmers who must remain mindful of run-off into waterways.
"We are keen to hear from the widest cross-section of our community to ensure our catchment environment and economy meets their needs into the future."
Last week's Choose Clean Water campaign petition to Parliament demonstrated that young and urban people care deeply about water. This debate is live in the Wairarapa with competing views on priorities for water use.
Campaign statistics suggest two thirds of NZ's rivers are unsafe for swimming. In the Wairarapa GWRC monitoring shows 68% of the popular swimming sites monitored have a low or very low risk of illness associated with them.
"Wairarapa statistics compare favourably to national figures. People tell us that freshwater quality is hugely important to them - not only for drinking but for the recreational and biodiversity opportunities it offers. For many people freshwater has significant economic value and this is certainly true in the Wairarapa with its strong agricultural base."
The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee will elicit the Ruamāhanga River catchment community's views about, and develop a way forward, for land and water management in the catchment. Tell the committee what you think about land and water management: http://www.gw.govt.nz/ruamahanga-whaitua-feedback/.
Notes to editors
Wairarapa recreational water quality (2014/15 season): http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Our-Environment/Environmental-monitoring/Environmental-Reporting/AnnualRecreationalWaterQualityReport-2014-15-Is-it-safe-to-swim-in-Wairarapa.pdf
Choose Clean Water Campaign is an initiative of the Tourism Export Council New Zealand following a challenge by environmentalist Dr Mike Joy, Massey University, saw young people from across the North Island converge on The Beehive to present a petition to MPs calling for lakes and river water quality to be swimmable.
For more information on the work of the Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee go to: http://www.gw.govt.nz/ruamahanga-whaitua/
Contact: Greater Wellington Regional Council Media Phone: 021 914 266
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