Fresh water quality and biodiversity
The quality of the fresh water in our rivers, lakes and streams is maintained or improved, and our region contains healthy plant, bird and wildlife habitats.
The quality of our waterways has an impact on our health and wellbeing, and it’s also fundamental for the tourism industry and our region’s economic prosperity. It’s no secret that the rivers, lakes and streams in our region are important to the entire community. We recognise Te Mana o te Wai (the integrated and holistic wellbeing of a fresh water body) in the management of fresh water.
There is growing demand for water from our urban and suburban populations as well as the farming sector. Population growth is also likely to increase the pressure on our region’s indigenous biodiversity. Increased sedimentation and contamination of waterways as a result of the earthworks associated with new developments, coupled with ageing stormwater and wastewater infrastructure and the intensive management of rural land can impact on the health of aquatic ecosystems. Urban expansion and rural intensification can increase the fragmentation of
remaining habitats, reducing their viability and ability to support indigenous biodiversity. Better understanding ofthese potential impacts and efficiently managing water use to more sustainable levels are key concerns for Greater Wellington.
We are working closely with mana whenua iwi and our communities through whaitua committees (catchment-based collaborative committees) to establish limits for water management. We are better able to protect our natural resources through partnerships and collaborative management – developing new ways of working in our shared backyard.
We recognise the importance of our special areas – the region’s forests, lakes, coastal areas, wetlands and harbours – and ensure we have policies to manage any threats to their ecological health. Our aim is to eradicate pests in our region so that native plants, animals and fish can thrive. We are adapting our approach to protecting natural assets – everyone in the community has their own part to play and we will be placing more focus on education and community involvement as we look to the future.