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Future Trends


"Water resources will be clean when our culture gives full value to water and wastes. Values that reflect our absolute dependence on water for life and the reality that there are no wastes, only misplaced resources. Like all cultural values, these must be acquired in the home.

Home is where the cultural heart is; where society's patterns and values are passed from one generation to the next. Home is also the place where cultural transformation begins. Clean water begins at home in the same way that world peace and a life-sustaining environment begin there."

Pat Costner. We All Live Downstream. A Kamo High School student project.


As development progresses, and populations continue to increase in New Zealand's major urban centres, the aging water supply systems and diminishing water supplies will probably get worse. Agricultural irrigation, tourism and food processing industries are increasing in New Zealand. All are major water users. Hotels, for example, may use 800 litres a day per room.

Although New Zealand's water supplies are excellent by world standards, the surface waters are suffering from a wide variety of water pollution problems associated with agriculture, industrial and urban discharges. Improvements will require extensive rebuilding of wetlands, replanting of native vegetation along river banks, fencing to keep livestock off river banks, reduction of the use of harmful agricultural chemicals, elimination of harmful trade wastes from industry, repair of aging sewer systems, and construction or modification of waste treatment plants for agricultural processing centres and urban sewage.

Major clean-up efforts in New Zealand reflect the growing awareness that pollution is an indication of inefficiency. Hopefully, the ongoing efforts of New Zealand to curtail discharges into waterways and protect land from erosion will slow some of the destruction of waterways. Pollution from fertilisers and pesticides present a more complex and long-term problem that may get worse unless farmers come up to speed on integrated pest control management, organic farming, and new fertilisation schemes. Currently, there is a major shift in Agricultural marketing as farmers realise the potential for overseas export markets for organically grown foods.

One important development is the increased involvement of local communities in protecting and improving their own water resources. Such involvement will increase personal understanding of the need to conserve and protect water supplies. Community monitoring projects can provide the needed signal of scarcity, essential to management of water resources - especially when networked with other communities using the same resource.


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