Major water clean up targeted by NZ government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, May 10, 2011 -- New Zealand's government has pledged $400 million to ensure the country's water supply is properly managed following recommendations from the Land and Water Forum...

May 10th, 2011

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, May 10, 2011 -- New Zealand's government has pledged $400 million to ensure the country's water supply is properly managed following recommendations from the Land and Water Forum.

After being asked in 2009 to look at how freshwater is managed in New Zealand, the forum advised the government over standards and limits for water quality and quantity, urban water issues, water allocation and new infrastructure.

The funding will include almost $265 million to help clean up waterways and $35 million set aside over five years to support irrigation infrastructure.

In a letter to ministers, Alistair Bisley, chairman of Land and Water, said: "There is a range of other areas where action needs to start straight away. These include the development of a national strategic approach to water management, the preparation of legislation on a range of matters, further work on allocation and the use of market mechanisms for allocating assimilative capacity, and water services management."

The programme sets timelines for the implementation on setting limits on irrigation, water quality and quantity, including governance arrangements.

David Carter, minister of agriculture and forestry, said: "The objective is for the government to effectively partner with rural communities on getting economically viable and environmentally sustainable water infrastructure projects up and running."

Recommendations under the plan are expected to be put infront of the Cabinet by February 2012.

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