August 16, 2017

Living Water adds weight to freshwater funding

Fonterra and the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) $20 million, 10-year Living Water partnership has helped secure $6.5m from the Ministry for the Environment to support freshwater improvement partnerships in Northland, Canterbury and Southland.

Living Water National Manager, Trish Kirkland-Smith, says the Fonterra and DOC partnership is supporting a variety of players across the country on projects that will demonstrate how sustainable farming and healthy freshwater ecosystems can exist side by side.

“It is exciting that Living Water can collaborate with other passionate and dedicated organisations and landowners to deliver projects with the potential to start making a real difference to New Zealand’s freshwater ecosystems and water quality,” says Ms. Kirkland-Smith.

Living Water has put financial support behind three Freshwater Improvement Fund applications in catchments where the programme is already active in reducing farming impacts on the environment.

The Wairoa River Project in Northland will reduce sediment and bacteria levels in the Wairoa River and its tributaries by working with landowners to set up sustainable land management practices incorporating Mātauranga Māori. This includes establishing and implementing Farm Environment Plans, fencing, wetland enhancement, soil conservation and monitoring activities.

Partners: Northland Regional Council, Living Water, Landcare Research, Reconnecting Northland, Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group, and Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Wai Māori.

The Snake Creek Restoration Project in Canterbury will transform the man-made drain and water network into a healthy freshwater ecosystem to protect one of New Zealand’s main trout spawning grounds. It involves restoring 1,680 metres of the creek by establishing sediment traps and other sediment mitigation measures, re-battering stream banks, planting native grasses and deepening a well to ensure the creek’s water quantity.

Partners: North Canterbury Fish & Game, Selwyn District Council, Silverstream Drainage Committee (including local landowners), Living Water, CAREX (University of Canterbury Freshwater Ecology Research Group), Environment Canterbury, EOS Ecology, Wai Ora Landscapes

The Whakamana Te Waituna programme in Southland will demonstrate the scalability of alternative drainage system designs and technologies to reduce the impacts of ground and surface water contaminants on Waituna Lagoon and its tributaries. Contaminant reduction targets, farm plans and establishing a buffer around Waituna Lagoon will be critical tools deployed as part of the project.

Partners: Environment Southland, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Department of Conservation, Southland District Council, Living Water, Te Rūnanga o Awarua.

Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, says the MfE’s funding announcement shows the benefit of working together to improve New Zealand’s waterways.

“We acknowledge we have an important role to play in addressing water quality in New Zealand, but by bringing everyone together we will achieve even better results when it comes to our land and water working in balance,” he says.

Fonterra launched its 10-year Living Water partnership with the Department of Conservation in 2013, with a vision of sustainable dairying as part of healthy functioning ecosystems that enrich the lives of all New Zealanders. The programme works in five significant dairying catchments and aims to build ecosystem resilience and improve freshwater outcomes.

Recently Spierings announced a commitment to amplifying the success of Living Water in a new initiative targeting 50 catchments.