08, Jun, 2017

Freshwater Rescue Plan brings Comprehensive Solutions for Clean Water

Category: ECO Inc

Environment and Conservation Organizations (ECO) fully supports the Seven point Plan proposed by a coalition of environmental organizations led by Choose Clean Water with Public health and tourism organizations.  ‘The Freshwater Rescue Plan is the most comprehensive proposal to solve the water crisis and associated land use issues that has been brought to the table to address the crisis of freshwater quality’ says ECO Vice Chair Dr. Betsan Martin.

The Plan draws together science, tourism and environmental interests to put in place policy for human and ecosystem health.  It also takes account of farming sustainability by proposals for diversification and ‘farming with the land’ through profitable with fewer cows per hectare.

 ‘Intensification involving major inputs of fertilizer and intensive stocking with cows is resulting in pollution of waterways.  While the economic returns are boosting the economy what is not counted with the downstream costs’, says Diana Shand, Co-Chair of ECO.

Tourism also relies on a clean and healthy environment and has a role in defending the environment, said Leslie Immink, of the Tourism Export Council, at the launch. 

‘The Freshwater Rescue Plan provides a comprehensive way forward that respects the interests and economic viability of all these interests including farming,’ says Diana Shand, Co-Chair, ECO.

A key policy platform announced at the launch is to stop funding irrigation and make the irrigation fund into a transition fund, as announced by Ms Marnie Pricket.  Irrigation infrastructure like the Ruataniwha dam and farm irrigators cause a cycle of investment and debt which locks in the current model of farming including conversions to more dairy farming. 

Intensification of dairying is destroying water quality, soils, and the climate.  Reputable empirical research, such as that of Alison Dewes shows that less intensive farming with fewer  cows and lower input costs, provides better returns for farmers than high input, high intensity farming models.

Intensification of dairying and conversions to dairy are a threat to human health – with 400 cases of toxic E. Coli poisoning per year.

The Plan gives responsibility to Regional Councils for monitoring and reporting on water pollution. The failure of Regional Councils to implement water regulations will be turned around by this Plan, which provides for proper resourcing of Councils to be effective in their role.

Environment and Conservation Organizations are involved with this coalition and fully endorse the seven point Plan.

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