Mataura River fecal load dangerously high in Gore

I wrote on Friday about the current situation in Gore regarding water supplies – ie that industrial dairy has sucked so much water out of the aquifers that Gore is short of water and restrictions are in place.

So I thought I would check out the situation with the Mataura River at Gore – after all if there are water restrictions you might consider going for a swim on a warm day.

Well it’s not advisable. Environment Southland currently advises that the Mataura River at Gore poses significant health risks due to high fecal coliform counts. This is no doubt due to intensive industrial dairy operations leaking cattle effluent into the catchment.

Environment Southland is doing a bit to address water pollution but it is still far too little. And central government needs to provide some leadership setting national standards.

4 Comments Posted

  1. JamieS – there’s no need, it’s patently obvious that it’s too dangerous to swim in the lower reaches of the Mataura. There has been considerable letter to the editor action over this issue, much of it instigated by Green members in Southland and it has served to raise the profile of the problem considerably. The cows keep on ‘patting and piddlin’ regardless. Bill English has been claiming that the damage is being done at the source of the river and it’s not the fault of the much maligned dairy farmers – but then he is an old hand at spinning straw into gold.

  2. It speaks for itself that they don’t even have 1 monitored site for bathing down the rest of the length of the Mataura…

  3. Totally agree – as you know we have 135 objections into the FNDC against the renewal of the inadequate sewage system in Rawene. We are investigating sensible alternatives as well as compiling a Cultural Health Index and planning for the hearing with the Regional Council.

    The NRC in fact has very good policies and guidelines on water quality – they need to be able to make local bodies comply and govt needs to back that up.

    Big issue!

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