Otago rivers are fine for swimming, except for the Kakanui where the cause of poor water quality, once again, is seagulls.
Water quality in Otago has been good so far this summer, Otago Regional Council (ORC) seasonal recreational water quality testing shows.
Three sites have had alert/amber warnings at certain times since the summer round of testing began at the beginning of December, but readings for those sites at other times and for all other sites have been considered safe for swimming. . .
This summer the Kakanui River at Clifton Falls Bridge is the only site to have its most recent reading in the amber/alert range, recording 510 parts of E. coli per 100ml of water on December 28.
ORC duty director Scott MacLean said there was a large colony of nesting gulls at the site, in rugged terrain, about 5km above the Clifton Falls bridge.
“Unfortunately, these nesting gull colonies are likely to continue to cause high E. coli concentrations in the upper Kakanui River, particularly during the breeding season.”
The gulls are natives and can’t be culled, but why can’t something be done, after the breeding season, to deter them from returning next year?
If farming, and particularly dairying, was responsible, the usual suspects masquerading as environmental warriors would be calling for action but they have been silent on this.
They have also been silent on the appalling state of Auckland waterways which are unsafe for swimming.
Whenever Auckland gets more than 5mm of rain, rainwater flows into the shared stormwater pipes and flushes raw sewage into streams or straight into the harbour.
These overflows happen at least 12 times a year.
Newsflash, Auckland gets a lot of rain – and the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools of raw sewage pour into our waterways every single time.
It’s appalling. And the problem is not new. . .
No business, farming or otherwise, would be able to continue to pollute in this way, why are councils and why aren’t the usual suspects protesting?
We are continually told in the most emotive terms about the health problems with dairy and irrigation but I’d venture to suggest those issues would be absolutely minimal when compared with raw sewerage.
I ask again; where are the protesters?
The ongoing problem of raw sewerage continuing unabated for the next 18 years is infinitely worse than anything our farming industry can do.
I went to the Greenpeace website believing I must have missed something but no. There was a headline telling me to stop seismic blasting. Maybe that causes sewerage to go into harbours and on beaches.
There was also a rant about a bank presumably funding forest destruction. I can see the logic there, destroy the forest, build houses and pollute beaches.
Greenpeace also wants the Huntly coal power plant shut down. Maybe it was polluting the Waikato River.
What irritated me most though was a mealy-mouthed release about the shocking vandalising of a North Otago farmer’s irrigation equipment.
Paradoxically, Greenpeace claimed to be a peaceful protester but could understand the vandalism as being “a sign of overwhelming public frustration about polluted rivers”.
Show me the science. . .
We are told ad nauseum about farming’s supposed threat to our clean, green image. There’s an appalling lack of science behind the accusations but the anti-farming rants are extreme.
Correspondingly, we have the country’s largest city with far more people than all the provinces combined pumping raw sewerage into the supposed pristine beaches of Auckland.
Where are the environmental protesters?
The Green Party, always willing to castigate farming and generally show indecent haste in the process, hasn’t said anything about the crap-covered beaches of Auckland.
On its website it accused National of plundering our fisheries, claimed the recent extreme weather was a sign of things to come and pontificated, naively in my view, that a fresh start was needed for European Union trade agreements.
There was nothing I could find about the scandalous pollution of our pristine Auckland beaches and the compromising of our clean, green image.
Again if they can slag off farmers for whatever reason they will do it with alacrity no matter what the facts may be.
When it comes to our largest city they seem cowed by the number of voters there. . .
A recent meeting between Irrigation New Zealand and Greenpeace failed to resolve differences because the environmental group needs a polarising issue to preserve its Auckland funding base, Irrigation chief executive Andrew Curtis says.
Greenpeace gave scant acknowledgement of the role of irrigation or that farmers were reducing their environmental footprint.
The group’s true agenda was laid bare soon after the meeting in a press release that was understanding of Auckland dumping millions of cubic metres of raw sewage into the harbour each year while again admonishing the dairy industry.
Curtis said it showed Greenpeace was a fundraising body determined to protect its Auckland funding base.
“That point was highlighted by the press release this week about Auckland sewage flowing into the harbour which said it was a concern but not majorly because the Auckland Council recognised it is an issue.
“Contrast that with its view of dairy farming and the irrigation industry, which is that there is no acknowledgement they have an issue and are doing nothing to improve the water quality. . .
Clean water is a fundamental necessity for human health.
It is an issue for both rural and urban New Zealand.
Farmers have collectively spent many millions of dollars cleaning up their acts to safeguard waterways.
Regional councils take their responsibilities to monitor farms very seriously. They have the right to prosecute farmers and have done so not only for polluting waterways but for pollution which could reach a waterway even if it hasn’t.
Yet city councils are given not just years but decades to bring their sewer and waste water systems up to 21st century standards.
If farmers were causing even a fraction of the problems that Auckland faces, protesters would be strident.
Their silence on the city pollution and slower than snails’-pace action on improving it is deafening.