The health of our waterways is priceless. Not only are our rivers and lakes home to native fish and other animals, they are a precious resource that we enjoy for swimming and kai gathering.
The Government claim they are doing what they can to protect water quality, but in a recent discussion document called “Next steps for Fresh water” the Government says making sure our rivers are clean enough to swim in is too expensive and unrealistic.
Part of the Government’s fresh water strategy is the National Objectives Framework, which outlines a range of bottom lines that healthy rivers must not fall below, or in many cases, be improved upon. One of these measures is human health, and the bottom line is that rivers be safe for secondary contact, i.e. wading or boating.
But we can’t let the kiwi tradition of swimming in our rivers and lakes slip away, while the industries that pollute them, like dairy farming, keep growing and are subsidised through irrigation schemes that drain our rivers.
There has to be a better way to protect water quality. The first step is to make the bottom line for rivers swimmable, because the health of our water is priceless.
Join us in telling the Government that swimmable rivers should be our goal.