State of Environment
State of Environment Summary 2018
We have released our 2018 State of Environment (SOE) report.
The report provides a snapshot of the state and trends of some of our region’s natural resources, including land cover, water quality, water quantity and air quality.
Usually produced every three years for various resources, this time the SOE report combines all of the monitoring data into the one document – see the summary here.
The report shows how things are changing over time given the pressures experienced throughout the region. For the parameters we measure, the West Coast is generally in good shape compared to other regions, but we have found some areas for improvement.
Council monitors groundwater, lakes, rivers, coastal beaches, and air quality across the region at 85 sites. A range of environmental data on the quantity of water on the West Coast, including rainfall, river flows, and groundwater levels is also collected. This data makes up the SOE report.
The West Coast Regional Council is the smallest Regional Council in New Zealand, managing the fifth largest area in the country, yet must deliver the same services and functions as the other regions of New Zealand.
Keeping on top of central government policy requirements and resource pressures has meant that we are continuing to grow our investment in science and monitoring. The SOE report helps Council and communities to identify where to focus our resources.
State of Environment Technical Report
The SOE Report is a summary document for the general public, backed up by a comprehensive technical report. The technical report will be released later in 2019.
State of Environment key findings
Some of the key findings include:
- Phosphorus levels either improved, or showed no change, at 93% of monitored sites, declining at 7% of sites. Levels at 60% of monitored sites showed no change.
- Invertebrate communities indicative of poor water quality were found at 13% of monitored sites, fair quality but typical of moderate impacts on water quality were found at 18% of monitored sites, with levels at 68% of sites good to excellent.
- Ammonia levels improved at 38% of monitored sites indicating potential improvements in the management of discharges, with levels at 62% of sites showing no change.
- Irrigation allocation has increased by 161% since 2012.
- Hydroelectric power is the largest consented user of water in the region.
- The Grey River catchment has the largest number of consented water takes out of the three districts.
- The demand for groundwater has more than doubled since 2012.
- Long term air quality monitoring of the airshed in Reefton has shown improvement.
- Most rain recorders in the region measured lower than average rainfall in 2012, 2013 and 2107. Rainfall was average, or slightly above, for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
- The Cropp River at waterfall received a whopping 11,228mm of rain in 2017.
- Significant work undertaken in the Lake Brunner catchment over the past decade continues to pay dividends with the lake still classified as ‘low nutrient’.