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To: The Government of New Zealand and Minister for Environment Hon David Parker
Save Te Waikoropupu Springs from the threat of synthetic nitrogen
We call upon the Minister for Environment Hon David Parker and the New Zealand Government to ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser from the recharge area of the Arthur Marble Aquifer which feeds Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay.
Why is this important?
Te Waikoropupū Springs are a national and international taonga (treasure). The springs have some of the clearest water ever measured on earth.
That clarity is under threat from rising nitrate pollution - the signature of industrial dairying.
The main source of the pollution is dairy farms in the recharge area of the aquifer, which apply hundreds of tonnes of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser each year, mainly urea.
For over three years Golden Bay volunteers have meticulously monitored nitrate levels at the Springs. The undeniable trend is upward. By September 2019 the levels were 30% up from 2016 - and rising.
Increasing nitrate levels are a threat to the unique ecosystem of Te Waikoropupū Springs. Elevated nitrate levels create ideal growing conditions for ugly algal blooms and pond slime. Recently a mat of ‘filamentous green algae’ was observed by DOC at the Dancing Sands Spring. This contaminant is typically found in nitrate rich waters.
Rising nitrate levels also threaten the tiny creatures (stygofauna) that create the sparkling clear water in the aquifer.
Te Waikoropupū Springs are of immense cultural, ecological and spiritual importance to New Zealanders. They are a Wāhi Tapu (Sacred place) to Māori. They are visited by more than 90,000 people a year.
The upward trend in nitrate readings is a call to urgent action!
We the undersigned ask that Minister for the Environment David Parker and the New Zealand Government acts urgently to ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser from the recharge area of the Arthur Marble Aquifer.