Partnership the way forward to solve freshwater problems

Approaching the freshwater problems in New Zealand through a partnership may offer sustained progress

In order to tackle the ongoing problems with river lake water quality, Federated Farmers suggests a partnership approach to make sustained progress in the future.

The announcement of an initial $44m in grants from the $100m Freshwater Improvement Fund was welcomed by the Federation, as it will leverage a $98m investment by councils, farmers, other landowners, and agencies.

Thirty-three projects covering more than 100 lakes and rivers won the funding, including at Lakes Tarawera, Horowhenua, and Wanaka and involving the Manawatu, Wairoa, Waimea and Selwyn Rivers.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says the fund will help in fencing of waterways from farm animals, development of wetlands, and sewage reticulation among other things. Eradicating waterweeds, removal of pest fish, and retiring marginal land adjacent to waterways are other initiatives in the package.

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“It’s great to have acknowledgement from the government that it’s expensive to restore water quality in these hot spots to a level that meets the standards expected by government and all New Zealanders,” Chris says.

“It’s often more than individual communities or sector groups can do on their own. We’re going to get there by working together, and this announcement is certainly a good step in the right direction.

“As Federated Farmers noted in its 2017 election manifesto, sustainable results, both environmentally and economically, will only be achieved with all members of the community, including farmers, working together catchment by catchment.”

Successful applicants will now negotiate the funding deeds. The councils, the Department of Conservation and environmental, and iwi trusts are overseeing most of the projects. However, two multi-regional projects involve the Foundation for Arable Research (protecting our groundwater) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (improving freshwater through enhanced outcomes on sheep and beef farms).

Source: Federated Farmers

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