OPINION|What’s important to you about water?

Pictured: Upper Clutha waterways are the subject of a community survey open now www.uppercluthalakestrust.org

During the coming weeks, Upper Clutha Lakes Trust’s Wanaka Water Project is conducting a Water Survey to get a better understanding of what our community uses water for, what we think of current water quality, what water issues are of most importance and what actions we think are needed. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete and is an opportunity for residents and visitors to express opinions on water, which in turn will help inform the Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP) being developed for the Upper Clutha catchments.

The survey is open to all and is available at www.uppercluthalakestrust.org.

The Wanaka Water Project will use the survey results for three purposes:

  1. To better understand what the community values most about our waterways.

  2. To prioritise the water issues of most importance to the community.

  3. To assist future sustainable management of water and aquatic ecosystems the Upper Clutha’s diverse catchments.

Earlier work completed by LINK Upper Clutha and others has demonstrated that our community places a high value on the natural environment. Similarly, public meetings on water issues have shown broad support for achieving and maintaining ecosystem health, biodiversity and human wellbeing for the long-term. Human wellbeing encompasses human health and positive economic, social and cultural outcomes.

Existing regulation and resourcing are proving inadequate when it comes to preventing damage to waterways resulting from urban growth, land use changes and tourism pressures. By developing an ICMP, our community will be proactive and get ahead of the problems occurring with water management in most other parts of New Zealand.

Part of the process of developing an ICMP is to weigh the relative importance of differing community well-being outcomes and to assess their associated uncertainties and risks. This is a complex undertaking, involving trade-offs between conflicting outcomes because individuals and groups will have different priorities and differing views on future outcomes. Examples of the types of uncertainty which affect future management decisions in the Upper Clutha include climate change and whether anything can be done to eliminate or control invasive species such as Didymo and Lake Snow.

The Wanaka Water Project is focused on wide collaboration and transparent decision-making, which is why it is important for you to have your say right at the start of this process. Please take the time to complete the survey now at www.uppercluthalakestrust.org.

The Water Survey will close in early April 2019 and the Wanaka Water Project will then share the results.



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