4 Nov 2014

NZ hosts 'timely' water conference

7:08 am on 4 November 2014

An internationally sponsored conference on water quality and the environment being held in New Zealand for the first time is being described as very timely by a freshwater scientist at Waikato University.

The 21st Century Watershed Technology Conference is held by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers every two years.

Waikato University professor David Hamilton is co-chairing the conference and said New Zealand is at the point where a huge amount of research and modelling is necessary to meet water quality limits.

Professor Hamilton said modelling used in this country follows international best practice.

"The goals are to essentially increase agricultural productivity - but to do that and be able to manage those limits downstream - so being able to mix and match to is going to be one of our biggest environmental challenges in the next five or 10 years and that New Zealand has ever experienced.

"And of course, these were sort of limits that were agreed to by the land and water forum. We know that they have to come into place because we can't intensify agriculture everywhere and still expect to have the recreational opportunities and also the tourism opportunities that we currently have. So we are in the middle of a very interesting challenge, I guess you could say."

braided Rakaia River

The Rakaia River in Canterbury. Photo: PHOTO NZ

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