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Fresh water issues and management

Ministry for the Environment - Our fresh water 2017

The Ministry for the Environment in April 2017 has released a new report on water quality issues nationally.

The links below provide information on the report and science reports that supported its formulation.

Our fresh water 2017
(external link)

New Zealand’s fresh water at a glance
(external link)

Indicator web pages
(external link)

Infographic - New Zealand's fresh water at a glance

For a full-size PDF of the infographic below, click here [PDF, 209 KB].

Infographic - New Zealand's fresh water at a glance.  Click for a full-size PDF.

 

Waikato Economic Impact Joint Venture Studies project

View the October 2014 project overview flyer [PDF, 66 KB].

One of our most important environmental challenges is good management of our lakes, rivers, wetlands and underground aquifers, so that our use of fresh water is both productive and sustainable.

Central government is working on a programme of reforms to help regional councils and communities manage fresh water better. The Waikato Regional Council, Waikato River Authority and DairyNZ have assisted by taking part in a series of studies to build credible regional data and models that can be used for assessing the economic and environmental impacts of different policy options.

The studies were initiated to support the Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/ Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai(external link) project in the Waikato and Waipa river catchments. They also supported the development of the National Objectives Framework attributes and values and proposed bottom lines as part of the 2014 National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management(external link).

The studies model the economic impacts of a range of scenarios for managing nutrients going into the Waikato and Waipa rivers from farming, municipal, and industrial sources.

The studies do not contain findings or recommendations. Rather, they help decision-makers by assessing the potential economic and environmental impacts of different options, based on those models. Similar economic impact studies(external link) have been done in Southland and Canterbury to support community conversations on managing fresh water.

The project partners are central government (Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment) DairyNZ, the, the Waikato River Authority, and Waikato Regional Council. The Department of Conswervation has contributed to the project and Horticulture NZ has also contributed to one of the studies.

Studies

Evaluation of policies for water quality improvement in the Upper Waikato catchment, Sept 2013

This report describes an economic model of the economic consequences of meeting nutrient targets in the Upper Waikato sub-catchment. A range of policy scenarios are run through the model, some based on the National Objectives Framework.

View this report on Ministry for the Environment's website(external link).

Catchment models for nutrients and microbial indicators, modelling application to the Upper Waikato catchment, October 2013

This report models nutrients and microbial indicators in the Upper Waikato sub-catchment to support analysis into the implications of nutrient targets, including the National Objectives Framework. A simplified catchment model for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll concentrations was developed. Concentrations of E.coli were also modelled under various land use and stock exclusion scenarios.

View this report on Ministry for the Environment's website(external link).

Estimated age in surface water and changes in nitrogen concentration in groundwater in the Upper Waikato catchment, Sept 2013

This report estimates groundwater lag times for surface water tributary catchments in the Upper Waikato sub-catchment to support analysis into the implications of nutrient targets, including the National Objectives Framework. This was done using simulation modelling, analysis of surface water chemistry, and analysis of surface water quality and flow measurements.

View this report on Ministry for the Environment's website(external link).

Review of freshwater non-market value studies. Literature review and peer review/workshop of a survey, August 2013

This report provides a review of existing literature on non-market values. It identifies non-market values, including Maaori values, associated with fresh water in the Waikato Region and suggests priorities for further analysis of non-market values. It concludes that values from other studies are not readily transferable to the Waikato context, and that further research into non-market values specific to the region would be required.

View the report Review of Freshwater Non-Market Value Studies [PDF, 2.9 MB], Dan Marsh and Lena Mkwara, University of Waikato, Department of Economics

Non-market values for fresh water in the Waikato region: a combined revealed and stated preference approach

This report develops an approach to assess non-market values of fresh water quality in the Waikato/Waipa catchment in terms of willingness to pay by households. The scope of non-market values assessed in this study consists of recreational and cultural use, option values for future use, and non-use or existence value. The report explains the methodology and how the models can be used to help inform policy using some hypothetical water quality scenarios.

View the report Non-market values for fresh water in the Waikato region.

Waikato and Waipa River Iwi values document review – Waikato Economic Joint Venture study

The purpose of this report is to provide a review that collates and documents available information from existing studies on values that five Waikato and Waipa River Iwi (Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Waikato-Tainui, Maniapoto) hold in relation to the Waikato and Waipa river catchments.

View the report Waikato and Waipa River Iwi values document review.

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