A new website will provide water users with information about
the health of New Zealand's waterways.
The Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website brings together water
quality data from the country's 12 regional and four unitary
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the
website allowed users to compare the health of waterways
throughout the country.
''You can compare [a particular river or lake] with the rest
of the region, the rest of the catchment and the rest of the
country,'' he said.
It provided a huge information resource which could be useful
to schools, researchers and recreational water users and was
not readily available in the past.
''We had all the data and it was publicly available, but it
wasn't readily accessible,'' he said.
The website was the result of more than two years' work and,
as well as regional authorities, involved the Ministry for
the Environment, the Cawthron Institute and Massey
Long term, it was hoped air quality, natural hazard and land
data would also become available on the site. However, there
was no time frame for that to take place.
Council water quality scientist Rachel Ozanne said data from
all of Otago's more than 60 water monitoring sites was
available on the website.
''The website can tell you whether that particular
[monitoring] site is suitable for picnics, for fishing, for
dogs or whatever and it tells you whether it's publicly
accessible,'' she said.
While it did not provide real-time data, it gave a ''pretty
good picture of the general state'' of waterways, she said.
You can visit the website at http://lawa.org.nz