Water quality funding confirmed

More than $380,000 in funding from the Government to help boost water quality in the Upper Clutha has been confirmed, a month after it was first announced.

Money from the Government’s freshwater improvement fund has been confirmed to support the Upper Clutha Water Group’s projects aimed at improving waterway health in the area.

The umbrella group, which includes the Queenstown Lakes District Council and  Otago Regional Council, as well as a number of smaller community groups such as Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust,  received $385,000 from the fund.

That money will be added to the $820,000 the group plans to spend in the next five years. The rest of the funding would come from other sources such as local councils and other funding sources associated with the smaller community groups.

Three key projects the group plans to develop are the development of a water management plan with input from the whole community, strategic plantings to restore margins along rivers and other waterways, and a study of the stormwater quality in  Wanaka.

Upper Clutha Water Group spokeswoman Mandy Bell said the group would start working almost immediately on  the  project.

"We will be ...  working with the community on values and getting feedback on what is important to them."

When the funding was first announced last month by Environment Minister Nick Smith, Wanaka native plant nursery Te Kakano was the recipient, but as the project grew the water group took the lead role. However, Te Kakano was still involved, she said.

The regional council would hold the fund on behalf of the group, but all members would still have a say on how it was distributed, Ms Bell said. Regional council chief executive Peter Bodeker said the council was asked by the group to hold the funds because of the systems and experience it already had in place.

The project will be discussed at the regional council’s lake snow public information session on October 4 at 7pm at the Lake Wanaka Centre.  

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