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Water Programme of Action: The effects of rural land use on water quality

Publication date:  July 2004
Publication reference number:  ME 563

The problem addressed by the Water Quality paper is a lack of effective management of diffuse discharges of contaminants to land in some catchments, which contributes to poor water quality, especially in lowland rivers and lakes.

Diffuse discharges are particularly a feature of the rural environment, as discharges in the urban area are more commonly concentrated at a specific point and controlled by resource consents. In addition, only 3% of the length of New Zealand’s rivers flows through urban areas. For these reasons, the project focuses on the impacts of rural land use, while noting that some issues for urban land use are likely to be similar and may be considered in future processes.

Requirements for a good water quality management framework and potential actions that could be taken to improve the current framework are identified.

This paper was published as part of the Water Programme of Action Freshwater for a Sustainable Future consultation.