Article 9: Freshwater quality performance audit

Local government: Results of the 2009/10 audits.

We are part way through a performance audit that will aim to answer whether four regional councils are effectively maintaining and enhancing the quality of freshwater in their regions. Our broad areas of inquiry are:

  • What do the regional councils know about the quality of freshwater in their regions – are their methods for gathering information about, and monitoring he quality of, freshwater effective?
  • How are the regional councils using the information they gather to improve their freshwater management practices (adaptive management)?
  • How do the regional councils respond to any known risks using regulatory and other methods?
  • Are the regional councils controlling land use effectively to ensure that freshwater quality is maintained and enhanced?
  • Are the changes the regional councils have made leading to improved freshwater quality in their regions?

We are also reviewing good management practices related to freshwater quality, so we can identify and highlight ways to improve freshwater management at the operational and local level.

We have largely completed our fieldwork in Southland and Taranaki, and will be discussing our preliminary findings with those regional councils early next year. We then plan to consider freshwater quality in the Waikato and Manawatu regions.

The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research is assisting us by reporting on the methods used by the regional councils and state of environment information for water quality in the four regions during the last ten years

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