Manawatū River Leaders’ Accord Update

Madeleine de Young – November 19, 2014

The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum was established in 2010 with a key goal, to take action to improve the health of the Manawatū river. In 2012 this forum, made up of 31 local interests including local government, iwi & business obtained $5.2 million from Central Government to assist with over $30 million in work programs. Now in 2014 they have completed a number of activities relating to the project, releasing a report in November 2014.

Specific goals set out in the Accord were:

  1. The Manawatū River becomes a source of regional pride and mana.
  2. Waterways in the Manawatū Catchment are safe, accessible, swimmable, and provide good recreation and food resources.
  3. The Manawatū Catchment and waterways are returned to a healthy condition.
  4. Sustainable use of the land and water resources of the Manawatū Catchment continues to underpin the economic prosperity of the Region.

As of November 2014 they have completed:

  • Wastewater treatment upgrades to improve water quality across six sites.
  • 208 km of stream fencing
  • Over 66,000 plants planted
  • Eight fish barriers fixed
  • 11 community groups completed 14 projects
  • 98 Environmental Farm Plans completed

What does this mean for us? A visible improvement in water quality post treatment, native fish habitat restoration, including native whitebait habitat restoration and better practice from farmers.

Nitrogen and effluent runoff from farms are a leading contributor to river pollution. The development of 98 Environmental Farm Plans across the region will help farmers to achieve best practice with nutrient management, water efficiency and riparian management.

Nationally the efforts made by the Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum are notable. As river quality continues to decline on a national level we not only put our 100% Pure brand at risk, we also limit our ability to derive entertainment and sustenance from our rivers.

The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum has made river pollution a community issue. By including business leaders, local government, iwi and community groups in the process they have pooled resources to achieve a measurable difference. Notably, they say that this is only the beginning.

Learn more about the Manawatū River Leaders Forum on their website.  

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