We had a great response to our ‘Swimmable Waters for All Creatures‘ submission postcard in Issue 133 of Wild Things.
With the release of the Clean Water package 2017, it looks like time to take this even further by making a submission to the government.
There is a target of 90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040, but…
The new water standards change what the word “swimmable” means.The old ‘bottom line’ (the most basic or lowest standard) for how much pollution was allowed from animal poo is now seen as the “excellent for swimming” standard.
The water in most rivers won’t need to get better, only our most polluted rivers will have to improve to meet the new standard. Up to 90% of NZ’s rivers and streams are excluded under new water standards. Lots and lots of places where we swim (or want to swim) are not going to be required to be any cleaner or safer! Is your swimming hole on the map?
The risk of kids and families getting sick from swimming will increase by a huge amount.
What about ecological health?
Macroinvertebrates (little creatures that live in our rivers) tell us a lot about how healthy the river is for us, and for the fish, birds and other animals that live in the river. You might have been out looking for them before in your local river or stream.
The Clean Water package proposes that Councils will have to check on these little creatures, but they won’t be required to make sure that the river is healthy enough to look after them.
Are you ok with our freshwater being less clean and less safe? Have your say by making a personal submission at www.kcc.org.nz/make-a-submission