Accounting for our Freshwater
This page provides information to our community on the quantity and quality of Nelson’s freshwater resource.
To sustainably manage our freshwater resource, we need to account for how much water is being taken from our water bodies and also the type and amount of contaminants going into our water. This information will help to inform decisions regarding the freshwater section of the Nelson Plan and provide feedback to our community on our freshwater resource. Freshwater accounting information complements the existing monitoring and reporting that Council does under sections 35(1) and 35(2) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Nelson’s freshwater is used for many purposes including drinking water and household use, stock drinking water, agriculture and industrial use. Some freshwater takes require a resource consent, while others are small takes which do not require a consent (known as permitted takes). Key to allocating and managing freshwater is measuring river flow and rainfall. We can all help to efficiently use water by implementing a number of handy water conservation tips.
The quality of our freshwater is important for ecological, cultural and recreational values. Water quality and ecosystem health are generally good in the upper reaches of most river catchments in Nelson and in areas with little resource pressure like North Nelson. However the effects of urban, pastoral and production land uses are apparent with degraded surface water quality in the mid and lower parts of some catchments. Contaminants such as E. coli, nitrogen, phosphorus, and heavy metals can enter freshwater bodies through point source or diffuse (non-point) discharges. Council is working with the community to maintain or enhance the quality of Nelson’s freshwater bodies by:
- Regulatory methods including requiring consents for discharges to water (e.g. stormwater or effluent discharges)
- Non-regulatory programmes including Nelson Nature, Project Maitai/Mahitahi, promoting stormwater best practice and rural fencing grants
- State of the environment monitoring including annual ‘score card’ reports on bathing water quality and river and stream health
We also supply monitoring data to Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA), a national environmental website displaying state and trend information for over 1100 freshwater monitoring sites across New Zealand.