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Our freshwater 2020

Publication date:  April 2020
Publication reference number:  ME 1490

Our freshwater 2020 examines the most pressing issues on our freshwater. Four priority freshwater issues have been selected for this report: 

  1. Our native freshwater species and ecosystems are under threat
  2. Water is polluted in urban, farming, and forestry areas
  3. Changing water flows affect our freshwater
  4. Climate change is affecting freshwater in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The report is produced jointly by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ.

Read the online summary of the report

Correction 20 July 2020

We have corrected four sentences in the Canterbury mudfish case study on page 17. 

For the sentences ‘But Canterbury mudfish have not been adaptable enough to thrive in the combination of changes that people have made to their habitat in the past 100 years. They were originally found throughout the Canterbury Plains but are now limited to small pockets of remaining wetland from Christchurch to Timaru’, the time period has been changed to ‘the past 150 years’ and the range has been changed to ‘small pockets of remaining wetland from Christchurch to the Waitaki River’. 

For the sentence ‘Pupils and staff at St Andrew’s School in Timaru are champions for the species’, the location has been changed to ‘near Timaru’. 

For the sentence ‘Good numbers of mudfish were living further upstream, but this barrier will give them 10 times more habitat that is protected from trout and allow the population to grow’, the amount of habitat has been changed to ‘10 percent more’.

We have corrected two sentences on page 47. 

For the sentence ‘Monitoring untreated water in aquifers for 2014–18 found that 95 percent of 174 sites failed to meet the drinking water standard for E. coli on at least one occasion’, this statistic has been changed to ‘68 percent of 364 sites’. 

For the sentence ‘The drinking water standard of 11.3 grams per cubic metre of nitrate-nitrogen was also exceeded on at least one occasion at 23 percent of 456 sites tested, this statistic has been changed to ‘19 percent of 433 sites’. 

We have corrected a sentence on page 54. 

The sentence ‘For 2014, New Zealand’s reported volume of water take per person was 2.2 million litres’ has been changed to ‘For 2014, New Zealand’s consented water allocation per person was 2.2 million litres’.

We have corrected the map presented as figure 14 on page 56. The map erroneously identified a much larger proportion of New Zealand’s land area as artificially drained than is estimated (particularly in Northland, Fiordland and Stewart Island), and has been updated to correct this.