Wednesday, December 6, 2023

OWL to share water quality reports with public

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South Canterbury irrigation co-op will publish research for all.
OWL freshwater specialist Jared Panther takes samples to test water quality for reports that are now publicly available.
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South Canterbury irrigation co-operative Opuha Water Ltd will publicly share its water quality reports in a move to encourage better community understanding of dynamic freshwater environments.

The company will publish its quarterly water quality reports for Lake Opuha and the wider catchment, sharing  the results of the company’s extensive water quality monitoring programme. 

Opuha Water Ltd (OWL) “has decided to take a more active role in encouraging community understanding of the many influences on these dynamic freshwater environments within our scheme area”, chief executive Andrew Mockford said.

“Everyone cares about water quality, so we want to inform and involve our community in the work we do to understand and protect this vital, shared asset.”

Mockford said the irrigation company cannot be solely responsible for water quality.

“Many factors are beyond our influence or control, but OWL is keen to demonstrate its role and actions in this important area and identify opportunities to work with community organisations on shared initiatives to lift and sustain the quality of our waterways.

“We will publish our water quality reports warts and all,” Mockford said.  

“By publishing our quarterly water quality reports we can show that Opuha is taking water quality management seriously, demonstrating leadership in the district’s collective responsibility for protecting and improving the mauri (life force, vitality) of te taiao (the environment) in its catchment area.”

OWL water quality monitoring programmes focus on Lake Opuha and its tributaries, the upper Opihi River and its tributaries, and the Opuha, lower Opihi, Te Ana Wai and Kākahu rivers. 

Water samples are collected and analysed for a variety of different water quality and ecosystem parameters including nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, iron, manganese, heavy metals, pesticides, E.coli, cyanobacteria, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and pH.

River surveys for benthic periphyton – material attached to the surface of rocks in the water – are also carried out to better understand river health and quantify the coverage of cyanobacteria and nuisance algae.

OWL reviews the data on a monthly basis to identify any significant changes in water quality throughout the scheme and produces a quarterly report for shareholders, stakeholders and now, the public.

“In publishing these reports we hope to provide the community with additional insight into their water bodies. 

“The aim is to collectively gain a greater level of understanding of our waterways and what influences their health. 

“Our reports will detail where the water quality results are excellent, as well as where there are opportunities for improvement.” 

A summary of its quarterly water quality report will be published on OWL’s website, with download links for people who want to see the full scientific document. 

Notices of the publication of new reports will be placed on the company’s Facebook page.

OWL’s first public water quality report covers two quarterly periods, June to August 2022, and September to December 2022. They can be viewed in full here Water Quality

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