Clean Water, Productive Land
New Zealand’s rural industries, Māori, and local and central government require scientifically-sound information and tools on which to base policy and industry guidelines for the management of New Zealand’s rural landscape to achieve water quality goals.
Central to this aim is the prediction of contaminant loads or concentrations in a catchment relative to a baseline. This requires knowledge of where and when contaminants originate from so that land can be managed to achieve water quality that is fit for purpose (e.g. swimming or Mahinga kai).
Our hypothesis is that approximately 80% of the contaminants (defined as nutrients, sediment and faecal microbes) come from 20% of the land. If these areas, termed critical source areas, can be isolated and appropriately managed, mitigation of contaminant impacts will be achieved at a fraction of the cost of applying mitigation across an entire catchment.