By Don Farmer
Updated data on the state of the Ruamahanga River tends to reinforce the query what do you want first the good or the bad news.
A paper prepared for Masterton District councillors by assets and operations manager David Hopman reveals the recreational water quality of the river at sites “along its entire length” is now rated as low risk.
This is on a scale which reads the risk ratings as being caution, moderate, low and very low.
Mr Hopman reported the Ruamahanga River is now grouped with the best 25 per cent of rivers of its type in New Zealand as far as bacterial quality is concerned.
Likewise ecology assessments using the macro invertebrate index (MCI) rate the river as “good” at sites down its entire length.
MCI ratings for ecology assessment are poor, fair, good and excellent.
But when it comes to phosphorus content the Ruamahanga doesn’t fare as well and even less so when its nitrogen levels are revealed.
The river is grouped in the best 50 per cent of rivers of its type in the country for phosphorous content and in the worst half for nitrogen.
Not all tributaries of the Ruamahangs were found to be in as good a condition as the main channel.
Mr Hopman’s report to councillors was based on an environmental monitoring update from Land, Air, Water Aorearoa (LAWA)encompassing all rivers in the country.
It was released on September 25, being World Rivers Day and named the Piuhinui Stream in Mangere as Supreme Award winner for New Zealand’s most improved river.
LAWA found the Puhinui still rated poorly overall on most water quality indicators but that many people had been working hard to clean it up and that hard work was paying off.