"Basically crap" is the impression an Otago
Regional Council water quality report gives of three of
Dunedin City's significant waterways, Cr Michael Deaker says.
Discussing a report to the environmental science committee on
surface water quality of the Water of Leith, Kaikorai Stream,
Careys Creek and Waitati River, Cr Deaker asked what could be
done to improve those waterways.
Environmental information and science director John Threlfall
said there were no surprises in the report as an earlier
State of Environment report had shown water quality in those
waterways was "not great" although there had been a slight
"There is no quick fix."
This report aimed to establish a baseline water quality, he
Water quality scientist Rachel Ozanne said in her report
bacteria levels in the urban streams were elevated and likely
to be directly attributable to stormwater discharges or cross
connections with foul sewer systems.
Urban stormwater contained a wide variety of contaminants,
that in sufficient concentration and quantity could cause
significant pollution, degrading the water quality, she said.
This was particularly the case with the Water of Leith and
Kaikorai Stream, with both waterways exceeding recommended
guidelines because of high bacterial contamination.
Waitati River and Careys Creek had good water quality, but in
the Waitati catchment water quality improved with distance
from the head waters.
Both waterways' water quality was generally within
recommended recreational contact guidelines, she said.
Cr Gretchen Robertson said the report highlighted that water
quality was an issue in urban and rural areas.
Mr Threlfall said the stormwater issue was a big one and
involved the Dunedin City Council which managed the
The ORC was working with the DCC, which was having to apply
for consent for stormwater discharge and was developing
catchment management plans to improve stormwater management.
It would cost "billions" to retrofit all stormwater lines and
would require disturbing roads, pavements and people's
Instead, the aim was to prevent the situation getting any
worse, he said.
"It comes down to what people will accept and what they are
prepared to pay for."
The city council had done a lot of hard work to fix the
cross-connection problem, but it was possible some could