Home' Waitomo News : 5 April 2016 Contents 8 WAITOMO NEWS Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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The Greater Good
THE Waikato River System’s report
card of a C+ grading has come as no real
surprise to the Waikato River Authority
For the first time, the entire Waikato
catchment has been assessed.
Written by Niwa, Cambridge company
Diffuse Sources Ltd and the Waikato Rau-
patu River Trust the report card breaks
each section of the catchment into the
river’s main stem, tributaries and lakes.
WRA co-chairman Tukoroirangi Mor-
gan says the authority believed there was
always problems with degradation across
“But what the report card does is give
us confidence around the state of our wa-
terways and is very helpful when we try
to shape a plan going forward,” he says.
“The authority’s confidence level grows
as the stakeholders in the river, com-
munity, iwi and the region get together
collectively and efficiently work towards
a solution, but we are not there yet.“Until
we are able to work efficiently in true
partnership with all stakeholders includ-
ing corporates to better the health and
wellbeing of the river, it’s going to be a
The report shows differing levels of
health for the Waikato River with the
highest overall rating being a B in the
upper reaches from Huka to Ohakuri, but
there are major concerns where the rating
falls to a D where the Waipa River flows
into the Waikato.
Mr Morgan says the WRA is also deeply
concerned about the levels of nitrogen
coming from the Waipa River.
“It’s a brave man who would take water
or kai below the junction of the Waikato
and the Waipa, but the levels recorded in
the upper reaches show it’s safe to do so.
“We have seen an attitudinal change
from the community to improve the health
of the rivers and that is a significant win
for the authority. We still have a long way
to go, a C+ rating is just the start but it
gives us some clarity specifically as to the
state of the river.”
Representatives from the Healthy Riv-
ers Wai Ora committee have formally
accepted a copy of the Healthy Rivers
report to restore both the Waikato and
The report which is the final step in
the consultation process, was formulated
by the multi-sector Collaborative Stake-
holder Group (CSG) that has worked on a
Waikato regional plan change under the
Healthy Rivers initiative.
Key features of the recommended
framework for change include a range of
measures to reduce nutrients, sediment
and bacteria from entering waterways,
while collecting the necessary information
to support future measures.
The regional plan’s framework is par-
ticularly focused on the impacts of higher
intensity farming on water quality.
The CSG’s independent chairman Bill
Wasley says a key area the CSG is still
looking at is the exact river health out-
comes that should be expected after 10-20
“We want to be clear on the short-term
goals we want to achieve as we work
towards the long-term realisation of the
group’s vision and strategy.”
The CSG will now develop a recom-
mended plan change using feedback from
the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee
to be adopted by the Waikato Regional
Council in June.
CHANGES NEEDED: Restoring the health of the Waikato
and Waipa Rivers is not an overnight fix but Waikato River
Authority co-chair Tukoroirangi Morgan is confident of chang-
es in the next 20 years.
C+ grade for river
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