Horizons Regional Council councillor Colleen Sheldon proudly accepted a New Zealand River Award on Tuesday night for the Ōroua River.
The New Zealand River Awards celebrates waterways showing long-term trend improvements in water quality. A panel of scientists judge sites throughout New Zealand using long-term data stored on the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website.
This year’s awards focussed on dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) improvements. The Ōroua River was the most improved in the Horizons Region, and second most improved nationally, with a 13.3 per cent improvement trend. Other water quality indicators including total nitrogen, E. coli, and turbidity are also improving at this site, while the MCI state is Fair, with a score of 95.
This is the second ‘most improved’ award for the Ōroua since 2014 for improving DRP trends.
DRP is a measure of dissolved phosphorus compounds that are readily available for use by plants and algae, and is a nutrient indicator. DRP concentrations are an indication of a waterbody’s ability to support nuisance algal or plant growths (algal blooms).
Horizons natural resources and partnerships group manager Dr Jon Roygard says the site is part of council’s extensive monitoring programme that measures water quality parameters upstream and downstream of major point discharge sources throughout the region.
“The improved DRP levels are a great result,” says Dr Roygard.
“The Manawatū District Council has significantly invested in upgrading their wastewater treatment plant over a period of time.
“Partial funding has also come from central government through the Manawatū River Leaders’ Accord’s Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-up project.”