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Regional Council notes

March 10, 2021 March 2021 No Comments

Value our rivers

Wairarapa rivers are popular places in the summer.  All our main waterways have places where traditionally people have been able to access the water either for a swim, to fish or just enjoy the scenery.  Some are quiet nooks on private land and others immensely popular public access spots teaming with people on a hot day.

We’ve always taken our rivers for granted and it’s come as a bit of a shock to many that the water quality in several of them is not in great shape, especially in this warmer weather.

There is a variety of reasons for this and it is pointless finger-pointing over it.  Whether it is discharge from urban waste water, agricultural run-off or heavy metals from stormwater off our roads, all historically ended up in our water ways and have contributed to the decline over the years.  

Fortunately, due to changes in attitudes and farming practice, tighter consenting rules for urban waste water and a much higher awareness of human impact on our environment, that decline is being dragged to a halt.

That should be good news but, just as we think we may be turning the tide, other challenges have taken centre stage.

The first is toxic algae.  This well publicised threat is now common in places in the Ruamahanga and poses a serious threat to dogs who are attracted to its musty, earthy smell.  A small piece, the size of a fifty-cent coin, is enough to kill your canine family member so it pays to know what it looks like.  Check https://www.gw.govt.nz/freshwater-toxic-algae for more details.

Finally, there is the problem of the half-wit human being who dumps their rubbish by the river side.  For some reason these morons think that this is acceptable because it is free yet it absolutely isn’t.  We all pay to have these messes cleaned up and the cost to ratepayers is high.  Add the environmental impact when noxious waste washes down-stream and into Wairarapa Moana and the overall impact is considerable.

Unfortunately, we have kilometres of river bank with many opportunities for fly tipping.  It is simply not possible to police every access so the only way we can get on top of this is through public vigilance.  If you see people dumping their rubbish at the river get the vehicle registration and tell us.  If you can get a photo without putting yourself at risk then that is even better.

Kiwis have resoundingly said they want rivers with water that is safe to swim and fish in.  Shame if we were to achieve that but have the banks of our pristine river lined with rubbish.

Adrienne Staples

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