Lowland Water Quality

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Waikato river.jpg

Much of Waikato is intensively farmed. There are 1,832,380 diary cows, 505,869 beef cows and 1,776,544 sheep (Statistics New Zealand, 2013) in the region. There are three main river systems that run through the region, Waikato, Waihoa and Piako Rivers.

The rivers in the region receive pollution through communities (eg, Tokoroa and Hamilton), agriculture runoff and industry waste water. Sites monitored clearly show a decrease in water quality after agriculture and industry discharges (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). The river water is used for over 30 of these communities that than pollute the river and 200 or more irrigation systems run of water from the Waikato River. There are 2792 permits for discharge of wastes with 85% of these permits being agricultural sourced effluents (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). Some of the major waste discharges come form Waikato Diary Co-operative - Hautapu factory, Anchor products Ltd’s – Te Rapa factory, AFFCO’s Horotiu Freezing works and Waikato Wool Sources Ltd and Waikato By-Products (Smith, 1993). Effluents from 12 sewage plants are also discharged into the river (Smith, 1993).

Control gates a Lake Taupo control the flow of the upper reaches while the lower reaches are more controlled by rainfall as more tributaries are introduced to the river system (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013).

The increased export demand of diary has caused an increase in runoff rates, sediment and nutrient loss to New Zealand rivers. This is through nutrients and pesticides being applied to keep up the demand of pastoral growth for the dairy industry (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). The leaching of these nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium occur when there is increased rainfall and increased irrigation. The pastoral farming in New Zealand is a major source of contamination to waterways and water guidelines are often being breached (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013).

Landscape and climate of Waikato

The Waikato Region and the 10 Sites along the Waikato River that are monitored


The Waikato region consists of valleys and coastal lands separated by ranges and coversan area of about 25,000km^2 (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013). The Thames valley is divided from the Waikato basin by greywacke hills running north through the Hapūakohe and Hūnua ranges (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). Another greywacke range separates the Waikato basin from the west coast. The Hakarimata and Taupiri ranges create a boundary between the middle and lower reaches of the Waikato River (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). It includes several volcanic areas, including the Taupo area where a massive eruption about 23,000 years ago blasted a hole in the centre of the North Island, forming Lake Taupo. It also includes areas of sedimentary rocks, mostly mudstone, sandstone and limestone, with some areas containing coal (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012).

Waikato’s eastern boundary is the Kaimai Range, which runs south from Te Aroha, separating the Thames valley from the Bay of Plenty. The northern part is an extension of the Coromandel Peninsula's volcanic rock (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013). The southern section forms a plateau at Mamaku in south Waikato. The region was produced by volcanic eruptions in the Taupō Volcanic Zone 300,000–750,000 years ago (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012).

Pastoral farming covers more than half of the land, and indigenous vegetation and plantation forestry are also important land uses, covering about 28% and 12% of the region's area, respectively (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013).


Rivers in the Waikato region are alluvial, which means they flow through flood plains they have created by depositing sediment. The largest, the Waikato, flows from Lake Taupo through the Waikato basin and out to the Tasman Sea. Its major tributary, the Waipā River, the two converge at Ngāruawāhia. When focussing on the Waikato, pollution levels increase where the Waipa River joins the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia.(TerraNature 2005). The Thames valley is drained by the Waihou River, which flows from the Mamaku and Pātetere plateaus; the Piako River, which rises near Maungakawa; and the Waitoa River, which has its source in hill country near Piarere.

At 425 km in length the Waikato River is the largest river in New Zealand. The rivers source lies in Lake Taupo which also boasts the largest surface area of any lake in New Zealand. The Waikato River ends its journey when it meets the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato, South of Auckland.


The region has warm, humid summers and mild winters. Rainfall varies considerably across the region with a relatively high rainfall all year round. The area has an overall annual average value of about 1,250 mm (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013). The annual rainfall is generally considered adequate for agricultural production, although there is potential for drought in summer (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). In the early 2000's this pattern was disrupted due to a severe drought in the summer of 2007–8. This transformed the usually vivid green landscape to dusty brown rolling hills.

Fogs often occur in winter, but usually lift to reveal a clear sunny day. They are becoming less frequent as a consequence of wetland drainage. Heavy frosts are also common in calm, clear conditions. Maximum daily temperatures range from 21 to 26°C in summer and 10 to 14°C in winter (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012).

The trend through the catchment

In the Waikato there are 5870 dairy sheds and approximately 1,832,380 dairy cows. The Waikato River starts at the North end of Lake Taupo and flows 425km into the Tasman Sea. Water Quality is high at the lake end but declines as you go further and further downstream (Smith, 1993). Suspended sediment and turbidity are the two factors in the lowland areas that is the issue, while nitrogen and phosphorous levels are excessive in the middle reaches of the river. At sites below sewage and meatwork discharges (Hamilton (Site 8) and Horotiu (Site9)) the faecal coliform levels sometimes exceed the 200/100 mL limit for contact recreation whilst also being popular swimming locations (Smith, 1993). In the lower reaches of major tributaries to the Waikato River, the suspended sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen level and are often above guideline concentrations. This is also the case for faecal matter with a third and the tributaries exceeding the guideline concentrations (Smith, 1993). Headwaters of the Waikato River vary in quality and the lowland headwaters have poorer water quality than in the highlands.

Importance of industry in the area

Industry is very important to the Waikato Region. Its largest city is Hamilton with a population of only 210,000 and is home to Waikato University (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). There are lots of small towns in the region that predominantly have agriculture as their income. The Waikato Region’s economy is the fourth largest in New Zealand, agriculture have a major involvement in this. The dominance of the agricultural activity is mainly due to the geography and climate of the area (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). In the 1860’s and 1870’s farming in the Waikato region was mainly for sustainability. Then due to refrigerated shipping being introduced in 1882 farmers then changed how they farmed. Diary farming was an industry with widespread, small companies (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). The twentieth century saw the merge of many of these companies, which then resulted in essentially the formation of Fonterra in 2001. Also in the 1920’s along with the larger diary farms came larger diary factories. By the 1950’s the collection of whole milk had started. This caused many of the smaller factories to close down as more of the larger factories opened. In 2007 the diary industry contributed 13% to the regions GDP. In 2007 the diary industry contributed 13% to the regions GDP. Business is the second largest sector with 8% contribution (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). There are also eight electricity power stations along the Waikato River (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). These power stations produce 4000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity and are 13% of New Zealand’s power source. The Huntly power station also uses the water as a coolant in the process of producing thermal power (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012). But to protect he aquatic species, there are regulations under the Resource Management Act specifying the amount of water that can be taken and then at what temperature it can be returned. So in summer the station cannot produce as much power due to the warm conditions (Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012).

100 Sites Monitored in the Waikato Region

How water is Monitored

The Waikato Regional Council measures the water quality at 10 sites of the Waikato River, 5 sites on the Waipa River and 100 sites in the whole region. The Waikato River is the largest river in the region and the most intensively used. The spread of monitored rivers in the region is evenly distributed so the council gets a good gage on the water quality throughout the whole region. All or these sites are monitored monthly throughout the region (Waikato Regional Council, 2013).

The rivers and streams are influenced by the surrounding land uses and land management practices. Water quality is generally excellent in upland bush areas (Coromandel Peninsula and Lake Taupo Catchment), but deteriorates markedly as it flows through urban and lowland farming areas (Hauraki Plains)(Waikato Regional Council, 2013). This is largely due to the intensity of land use in the region. The Waikato Regional Council governs a range of policies and plans which help promote better water quality and availability. It also promotes encouragement and education in the community to assist in their water quality objectives (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013).

The Council work with farmers and the agriculture industry to promote using more efficient ways of using nutrients and diary effluent to help keep nitrogen and phosphorus out of the waterways. The iwi’s in the area are also consulted with in a new-management scheme (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013). This allows more funding available for river protection and new arrangement for mangeing river health. Under this new co-management scheme, the Waikato River is now in a new strategic plan in the Waikato Regional Council Policy Statement (Land and Water New Zealand, 2013). This statement aims to influence more of an affect in protecting the regions water quality.

Water Quality – Contaminants

The non-point source discharge are the main sources of nutrient, nitrogen of rural runoff and leaching.25% of the non-point source nitrogen is estimated to be natural, where the rest is mainly coming from pasture.(Ministry for the Environment. 1998)

As the demand for increased export performance from the agricultural sector within New Zealand grows, the existing use of much of the land has changed to accommodate more intensive farming practises. These changes have resulted in peak runoff rates, sediment and nutrient loss (Skaggs et al 1994). Nutrient and pesticide applications required to produce the pasture quality and high performance of stock to sustain these intensive farming and horticultural operations causes increasing problems to water quality. Periods of high rainfall result in the leaching of soils of these nutrients and pesticides however management of this degradation of water quality is proving to be difficult.

The over application of nutrients to the soil through fertilisers such as phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium result in leaching during periods of heavy rain and through the increased use of irrigators (MfE 2009). There has been a marked increase in the concentration of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous in many rivers and aquifers around the world since the late 1940's (Arnell. N, 2002). After WW2 there was an enormous and urgent push for improved food production and a rise in fertiliser application after years of very little. The heavy use of potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen-based fertilisers were encouraged with the resulting effects on water.

Several NZ studies have concluded that pastoral land use cases a decrease in the water quality degradation with the increase of phosphorus and nitrogen in the rivers and faecal contamination that often exceeded water quality guidelines. Intensively farmed areas located around rivers in the Waikato had high levels of nutrients and fairly high faecal contamination. Many studies are beginning to show that pastoral farming is a major source of water pollution in NZ. This pollution is a result of runoff or leaching or livestock trampling and waste deposition in channels. (Davies-Colley and Nagel, 2002)

General on all

Suspended sediment increases as flow increases and faecal matter increases in storm events due to the run-off of surface water from the pastures (Smith, 1993). Biochemical oxygen demand concentrations are lower during stormflows than in lowflows, which is important for the breakdown of organic matter. Phosphorous concentrations usually increase with an increase in flow at lower flow as phosphorous removal process becomes gradually less important (Smith, 1993). As the flow increases the phosphorous concentrations decline due to that available (the water dilutes the phosphorus). Similarly with nitrogen concentrations, they increase until they reach a critical level and the concentration starts to decline. This brings the importance of riparian boarder to waterways for the removal of phosphorus and nitrogen at the low flows thus also limiting them at high flows (Smith, 1993). Although the critical flow rate at which nitrogen concentrations decline is higher than that of the phosphorous concentrations. So therefore in stormflows, or just high flow events, nitrogen concentrations are higher than phosphorous (Smith, 1993). And although concentrations vary with flow levels the lowflows data is the more important area to look at as 95% of the time that is what state they are in. Especially in the areas of low rainfall that have agricultural farming, the waterways are predominantly low and the paddocks are irrigated. With this the concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus are higher due to the low level of precipitation diluting the waters of chemicals and organic matter. Also aquatic species can handle short periods of increased concentrations, whereas with high concentrations for prolonged durations they struggle with and that is when they start to get affected (Smith, 1993).


Nutrients from animal waste can in some parts of the world cause enormous areas of algal bloom that use up the oxygen in water. This problem has contributed to a 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico that is no longer able ago support aquatic life (Natural Resource Defense Council, 2013). In the 1970's and 80’s, Canada and the US undertook a major programme of point and non-point source identification and control through the monitoring of rivers within the Great Lakes region. Lake Erie was considered hypertrophic and Lake Ontario was suffering from entropic conditions caused by excessive phosphorous contamination. It was determined that agriculture was the major source of the pollution (Monaghan et al., 2007).


Phosphorous, a fertiliser widely used in agricultural practise is also applied to sewage and effluent treatments and can be leached into waterways. However, it can be removed from the water by algae and older plant life within the rivers or streams and by plant life on the river banks (Arnell. 2002 and McLaren, Cameron, 1996) There is however clear evidence that poor agricultural practises and the over use of chemicals by producers in striving for higher production figures have threatened aquatic species.


Nitrogen in its original gaseous form is an element that cannot be directly used by plants. It must be converted by nitrifying bacteria so that it can enter the food chain. The bacterium converts nitrogen into ammonia that plants can use as a nitrogen source by a process known as nitrogen fixation. The predominant use of ammonia is in fertilisers. Ammonia can also be released as a gas and can be wind borne for many miles from the original polluted area before being dumped back onto the ground or into water supplies (Natural Resource Defense Council, 2013). Agricultural practises return large amounts of N to the soil/plant system in the form of urine and dung and through chemical processes known as nitrification and Dentrification produce various nitrogen’s that are eventually leached out of the soil and into waterways through extensive irrigation or periods of heavy rain.

Very high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in waterways can produce eutrophication that can eventually cause areas of denser algae resulting in aquatic species experiencing lack of oxygen. The process of the algae dying and decomposing consumes oxygen. The quality of the water becomes poor and visibility decreases. Submerged plants, without sunlight die, decompose and consume more oxygen. The lack of dissolved oxygen in the water results in aquatic life and other organisms dying (Arnell. 2002).


Potassium is essential element in the earths crust and is the third major nutrient for plant growth after nitrogen and phosphorus. Potassium fertiliser has only been used in New Zealand agriculture sector since the 1950’s; it is generally only applied in spring (McLaren, Cameron, 1996). An excess of Potassium in waterways increases the growth of aquatic plants, causing a higher demand for oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide in the water. The high competition for oxygen results in many aquatic plants and animals being unable to receive sufficient to survive and eventually dying (Krama 1987).

Use of allocated water in New Zealand, 2006 (Norman.2011)

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals either come from natural or artificial sources. They are then contaminated into the waterways through parent material weathering, atmospheric deposition or through discharge from anthropogenic sources (Demirak et al. 2006). Low land areas are affected by heavy metals dramatically because they are usually the basin for the surrounding catchment. This means that all the runoff from the surrounding areas is directed into the low land areas and thus their water (Johnes et al. 1996). If the surrounding area is impervious then the amount of heavy metals dramatically increases in low land water (Johnes et al. 1996). Once the heavy metal contaminates reach the water way they then become trapped within sediment particles which at uncertain times breaks down and releases the toxins (Wright and Mason. 1999). Heavy metals are a problem for low land water quality due to their toxic nature and that they can stay around for a number or years due to their attachment to sediment (Johnes et al. 1996). Copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and Zinc are heavy metals which are quite abundant in urban environments (Brown and Peak. 2006). These heavy metals are very toxic to aquatic species and due to how much there is in urban areas with a lack of pervious surfaces most of these metals end up in the slow moving waterways (Brown and Peak. 2006).

Other Pollution Sources

Meat works

Meat works are a point source as it directly contaminates into rivers. There is around 80 point sources which discharge directly into the Waikato River, there are 30 which are classed as large and includes the treated waste water from the meat works (Waikato Regional Council). Point sources must have a resource consent which is guidelines on the load and the concentration limit of the discharge (Ministry of environment). In the past from 1950 to early 1970s contaminates in the Waikato river increased tenfold (Waikato regional council). A recent study on the Waikato River revealed that wastewater discharged from the meat works only accounted for around 5 per cent of total bacteria found in the river (Waikato regional council). Even though wastewater discharge only accounts for a small per cent of contaminates in the river the discharge has caused a significant increase in nutrients and yellow substance which has affected the river by degrading the clarity and colour of the river (Rutherford et al 2001). The Horotiu meat works is responsible for 20 per cent of total chlorophyll contamination into the Waikato River (Rutherford et al 2001). Chlorophyll is used as an indicator for water quality as it is used to assess how much algae biomass is in the river which is used to indicate the symptoms of eutrophication (plant growth) (Rutherford. 2001). An algae bloom is a major concern as it decreases light into the riverbed and thus decrease plant growth and then oxygen levels causing the rivers temperature to change (Boyer 2009).


Waikato Regional Council

Water is pumped or diverted from rivers and lakes and used as irrigation on arable and horticultural crops so there is an enhancement in the products yield (NIWA. 1992). If there is a change in the water flow then turbidity and temperature can increase or decrease which changes the water quality of the area (NIWA.). The change in temperature and nutrients also causes an outbreak of algae which further causes a decrease of river flow and thus a change in water quality (NIWA. 1992). Horticulture practices include the use of heavy pesticides which accounts for 34% of all pesticides used in New Zealand while 16% for cropping (NIWA. 1992) these heavy pesticides end up in waterways due to spray drift and runoff. The release of these pesticides into water ways has dramatic effects on the fish and invertebrate species due to their toxic nature (NIWA. 1992). The pesticides in the waterways cause biochemical reactions which decreases oxygen due to the stream bacteria which is trying to break down the organic matter (NIWA. 1992). The decreased dissolved oxygen (DO) causes a change in the water quality by increasing the temperature and pesticides also causes a decrease in clarity and thus sunlight is absorbed by the cloudiness which increases the temperature (NIWA.1992). The Orchard Management Practices are some key mitigation practices which were put into place by the Ministry for the Environment to minimise the impacts of pesticides on water quality, riparian and in stream habitats (NIWA. 1992). Some of these key points include; avoiding the application of chemicals directly prior to rainfall, applying chemicals with equipment which will reduce the amount of spray drift and coverage of other non-targeted species, and to minimise the use of pesticides and only using them when needed which will be affective and use in recommended conditions (NIWA.1992).

NZ and Global caparisons



Southland is the second largest region in New Zealand and covers an area of 34,000 sq. km. Southland has four main rivers that flow through the region which are Mataura, Waiau, Oreti and Aparima (Land & Water New Zealand, 2013). The water quality throughout Southland has been put under pressure over the past few years due to the main economy source coming from agriculture as the number of dairy cows is increasing at a rapid number over the past 15 years. Primary production also contributes to the rivers by discharging urban waste water to the streams. Maintaining the water quality throughout Southland is done by Environment Southland who monitors 76 streams and rivers which are mostly located in hill country or lowland catchments as much of the natural sites have great water quality such as Fiordland (Environment Southland, 2013). It is found that the Mataura and Oreti rivers out of the four are the highest in nitrogen throughout New Zealand. The bactercial loadings found in the lowland streams are above the national and Regional Water Plan standards (Land & Water New Zealand, 2013).



Taranaki has two distinct landforms with one being a volcanic ring plain centred on Mount Taranaki or know as Egmont National Park and the other landform is the hill country (Land & Water New Zealand, 2013). The region is highly used for high-intensity pastoral farming with around 60% and 40% is indigenous forest and shrubland in the region. The rivers, lakes and wetlands are home to many habitats and ecosystem and even rare species are found in this region that all depend on good water quality to sustain a habitat (Land & Water New Zealand, 2013). The water is used for many purposes such as agriculture, industrial and recreational use which also is valued by many especially by the Maori. The quality of the water is mainly affected by agriculture use mainly coming from dairying due to the runoff entering the water ways. The Taranaki Regional Council has been monitoring the rivers over many years and it is found that the lowland areas are affected the most due to human activity. The council has recommended fencing and planting which now has had a big impact on the quality of the water which has helped improved (Taranaki Regional Council, 2013).

Cows caterbury.jpg


Canterbury is home to more than 4,700 lakes and over 78,000 km of rivers making it the largest region in New Zealand. There are six main rivers that are in the region which are the Kowhai, Lyell Creek, Kahutara Conway, Waipara and the Waitaki (Land & Water New Zealand, 2013). All of these rivers are under pressure due to the demand of freshwater especially for farming and business activities. Many of these rivers have great water quality at the upper of the catchment due to less human intervening and much is still in its natural state (Environment Canterbury, 2013). The lowland areas are the worst hit due to pressure from increasing land-use intensification activities and the demand for water take for irrigation and urbanisation (Lnad & Water New Zealand, 2013). The reason for the lowland areas water quality to be poor in the region is due to being so close to the coast due to the river being under pressure from the land-use activity. To help improve the lowland sites Environment Canterbury maintains a large network of water quality monitoring sites and is enhancing the biodiversity along waterways to help improve the water ways.

Management schemes

Dairying and clean streams accord (2003)


The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord was set up to not only provide a statement about water quality but also to promote sustainable dairy farming in New Zealand. It's aim is to make farmers and the general public more aware of the implications of poor farming practises on the environment and focuses on the impacts that dairying has on the quality of water in New Zealand's rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater.

Dairy farming is an important agriculture business in New Zealand:

  • 11% of the total land used in agriculture (1.76 million ha);
  • 20% of New Zealand’s total export income are produced ($5.9 billion in the year to March 2003); and
  • 3.9 million dairy cows (number of cows in milk in the 2002/03 season).

The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord aims to improve the general publics knowledge, domestic and international consumers of the environmental improvements and performance of dairy farming. Such an Accord increases current industry and government initiatives and is consistent with overseas trends and expectations. If this is done well and sustainably it will improve New Zealand’s environment, creating a wholly more positive effect.


The goal of this Accord is to encourage the Fonterra Co-operative Group, regional councils and unitary authorities, the Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to come together with the one aim of achieving improved water quality within intensive dairy farming areas of New Zealand. The outcome of such cooperation will result in healthier and cleaner rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater.

In particular, the goal is to have water that is suitable, where appropriate, for:

  • Aquatic species;
  • Drinking by stock;
  • Recreational (in areas defined by regional


Actions that will be developed are:

  • Focusing on areas that are only dairying areas throughout New Zealand and areas able to adapt to different situations to reflect catchment characteristics.
  • Are cost-effective;
  • Are practical to apply within existing farming operations;
  • To be aware of the improved waterways management at farm level to focus on headwaters, small streams and drains;
  • Accept the lead role of the dairy industry in the Accord.

The Accord will be looked at annually to revise, if necessary, the progress against performance targets, assess co-operation between the parties, and assist facilitation of regional action plans.

Priorities on targets

The following actions and corresponding performance targets are priorities of the Accord:

  • Along all rivers and lakes, dairy cattle will not be permitted to have access to water banks.
  • Fences may be required to prevent stocks from entering the water banks; the type of fence depends on the terrain, stock type and costs.
  • Streams are defined as deeper than ankle deep (Red Band) and wider than a stride, and permanently flowing.

PERFORMANCE TARGET: 50% of streams, Rivers and Lakes by 2007 should have 50% of Diary cattle excluded from their water banks, by 2012 it is aimed to be 90%

  • Bridges or culverts are to be included in farm races where stock regularly cross the watercourses more than twice a week.

PERFORMANCE TARGET: At regular crossing points around New Zealand it is expected that 50% of crossings by 2007 should have bridges or culverts and approximately 90% by 2012.

  • Farm dairy effluent is appropriately treated and discharged.

PERFORMANCE TARGET: Resource consent and regional plans demand that 100% of farm dairy effluent discharge meets their standards.

  • To manage the Nutrients effectively to minimise losses to ground and surface waters.

PERFORMANCE TARGET: 100% of dairy farms to have in place systems to manage nutrient inputs and outputs by 2007.

  • Areas defined by the regional council of existing regionally significant or important wetlands are all to be fenced and their natural water regimes are protected.

PERFORMANCE TARGET: By 2005 50% of regionally significant wetlands to be fenced, 90% by 2007.

Role and Responsibilities

  • Regional councils responsibilities are the plans and information that is gathered towards the wetlands and water bodies, to make sure it is suitable for swimming within regions. They also provide suitable information for farmers and make changes towards regional plans to support the accord.
  • Government Departments responsibilities are to support the public and gather information and monitor the overall progress. Also they asses the science and research needs to ammoniate the Accord.
  • Fonterra's responsibilities develop an regional action plans and provide support towards the farmers, they also have the role of providing a annual progress report.

Dairy And Clean Streams Accord Compliance

The Dairy and Clean Streams Accord ran for 10 years and ended on 31 December 2012. This Accord was then to be replaced by the new Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord which is more specific and comprehensive than the old. It came into effect as of 1 August 2013 and can be found at http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/document/pdf/201320/Sustainable-Dairying.pdf. Progress of the Dairy and Clean Stream Accord (2003) and the targets is summarised below.

  • The Accords target for 2012, dairy cattle are to be excluded from Accord-type waterways to be 90 percent. This target has not been fully meet, with 87 percent of Fonterra farms with Accord-type waterways having excluded stock.
  • The target of 90 percent of regular stock crossing points to have bridges or culverts in place has been achieved. Less than 1 percent of these crossings still require bridges or culverts.
  • Nationally, the average level of significant non-compliance with regional council dairy effluent rules and consent conditions decreased from 11 percent in 2010/11 to 10 percent in 2011/12. Northland and Bay of Plenty had the highest levels of significant non-compliance (27 percent and 16 percent respectively). Improving effluent compliance is one of the major challenges for the Accord
  • Nationally, the level of full compliance with regional council dairy effluent rules and consent conditions has increased to 73 percent compared to the Accord target of 100 percent full compliance. This is an improvement on the 2010/11 results of 69 percent.

Dairy Accord Graph.png

  • The 2007 Accord target of 100 percent of dairy farms with a nutrient management plan is yet to be achieved. Ninety-nine percent of farmers now have a nutrient budget in place with 56 percent having a nutrient management plan compared to 46 percent in 2010/11.
  • In three regions, the 2005 target of fencing off 50 percent of wetlands that border dairy farms has been met. Only Taranaki has met the 2007 target of fencing 90 percent of regionally significant wetlands bordering dairy farms. Ten regional councils have defined and identified their regionally significant wetlands. The remaining three councils are currently working towards identifying and assessing wetlands in their areas.


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