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The waterway pollution conundrum

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14.09.2017

JIM TUCKER

Last updated 12:25, September 14 2017

Cleaning up Taranaki's waterways to met Ministry standards might require reducing the number of cows on the ringplain.

OPINION: As we resign ourselves to one of the wettest years on record, it seems paradoxical that river "swimmability" has become such a key election issue. Record rainfall is flushing out Taranaki's 500-plus named streams with such regularity that pollution couldn't seem further from our minds.

But that will change come summer, and what happens then about ensuring our waterways are safe places to swim will assume greater importance than at any other time in Taranaki's history.

Confused? You're excused, because after all we've been assured for many years by the official guardian of our rivers, Taranaki Regional Council, that waterways have been getting better as the effects kick in from riparian margins and a switch to dairy farm land irrigation for cowshed effluent.

However, there's a big question, an issue that's been bubbling quietly away for years and which now hangs uncomfortably – are our streams polluted or not?

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* Jim........

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