Water cooperation in action – LAWA tells our water story

New in 2014, a unique and powerful way for communities to gather and share information about their waterways.

LAWA is the short name for Land, Air, Water, Aotearoa, a web tool designed to give the public access to data on the quality of New Zealand’s freshwater. It’s a collaboration between the highly regarded Cawthron Institute, Massey University, New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and our regional and unitary councils (responsible for managing environmental resources at local level). Funding is aided through the Tindall Foundation.

Check out the LAWA website and if you’re in New Zealand, send in your observations, so we can keep updating – and learning from – our water story.

Here’s a screenshot showing just a sample of data for a stream in my city:

LAWA data on Porirua stream

Porirua Stream at Wall Park – this site is on the lower reaches of the stream

Note: Black disc is an easy way to quantify water clarity. How far away can a black target – the black disc – be seen through the water. The further away you can see the disc, the better the water clarity. Water clarity is essentially a description of light penetration and visual clarity: Light penetration is important as it controls the amount of light in the water needed for aquatic plants to grow. Visual clarity is an indication of how much suspended sediment – or soil – is in the water.

Northland river swimmers

What’s the water quality in this Northland river? You can use LAWA.org to find out about more than 1100 NZ waterways, and you can also send in your observations.

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About robynmmoore

Anything to do with people and the environment and I'm interested! I have been writing and commenting about education, the environment and other community-related matters since 2006. I'm a compulsive researcher. In 2009, I finished a thesis on Kapiti's water issues and am still researching outcomes there. This website and the work I do as a trustee for the Whitireia Foundation are part of my aspiration to contribute to 'shaping more sustainable communities'...also the title of my thesis. Look it up - it's free at www.j.co.nz.
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