Water Pollution Through Urban and Rural Land Use and Freshwater Allocation in New Zealand

In: Social Issues

Submitted By KiwiCruzade
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Water pollution through urban and rural land use and freshwater allocation in New Zealand
New Zealand has 425,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, almost 4,000 lakes larger than 1 hectare in size, and about 200 groundwater aquifers (Ministry for the Environment, 2010). By international standards, freshwater in New Zealand is both clean and in good supply. However, some aspects of water quality are getting worse in areas dominated by intensive land use. Demand for water is increasing, particularly in areas that are already water-stressed. Water pollution is becoming an ongoing problem for New Zealand. Both Urban and Rural land uses are creating pollution in our water and degrading the quality of our water. Growing demand for water resources in many parts of New Zealand during the last two decades has increased competition and conflicts between different stakeholders for access to scarce surface water and groundwater resources. To try to enable more sustainability in the use of our freshwater, we need to learn to balance and control how much water we use and where it is most needed.
Poor or declining water quality has already created direct costs, such as the nearly $450 million allocated over the next 10 to 20 years to the clean-up of Lake Taupo, Rotorua Lakes and the Waikato River, and can constrain economic opportunities (Ministry for the Environment 2010).
In New Zealand, it is increasingly recognised, including by government, that water resource allocation and water quality are issues of national importance. Agriculture is frequently portrayed by New Zealand media as a major user of water and a major contributor to worsening water quality. (R. Cullen, 2006). Ministry for the Environment (1997, p. 88) said that:
“ Water quality is generally high around the coast, in deep lakes, and in the headwaters of most rivers, and in many cases this is maintained into…...

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