14 Apr 2014

Manawatu River becoming cleaner

2:39 pm on 14 April 2014

A cross-sector group that is working towards cleaning up the Manawatu River says its efforts are starting to have an impact.

The Manawatu River Leaders Forum has released a progress report, two years into its long-term programme to improve water quality in the river.

The Manawatu River.

The Manawatu River. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Independent chair Richard Thompson says while the water testing programme is in its very early stages, it indicates nutrient pollution is not getting worse, and in some areas is improving.

He puts that down to both town waste water systems and farms being targetted.

"In some cases it's clearly a result of cleaning up the point-source discharges from the municipal waste water - like the sewerage schemes in the smaller rural towns, there's a lot of work gone into cleaning those up," he says.

"In other cases it would be the results, I think, of farm plans being implemented and better nutrient management regimes."

Mr Thompson says the Government's Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up fund has helped contribute to the cost of fencing off more than 100 kilometres of farmland, targetting beef cattle.

"It's essentially running a two-wire fence through streams and small rivers that are a part of the tributary that feed into the wider catchment," says Mr Thompson.

He says it is encouraging to see farmers paying for 59 percent of the cost of fencing their farms.