Lake water quality goes online

  • Nick Smith

Information on the water quality of lakes around the country will now be available online as part of an ongoing initiative between the Government, regional councils and the Tindall Foundation, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“Lakes are popular places for swimming and boating, and particularly with the summer months fast approaching, we want the many thousands of New Zealanders who visit them each year to have access to good, reliable information on the health of our lakes around the country. This is why lakes data is the next step for the LAWA website, which already provides data on our rivers and coastal waters,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith made today’s announcement with Local Government New Zealand regional sector group chair Stephen Woodhead. The new data on lakes will be live on the website from today.

“The value of transparent, real time data on lake water quality is that it will help communities become better custodians of their local water bodies. I welcome people making comparisons across the country on how well they are caring for their local lake as motivation for New Zealand to lift its game around water quality,” Dr Smith says.

The Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website ( is a national monitoring website launched in March 2014 in collaboration with 16 regional and unitary councils, the Cawthron Institute and the Ministry for the Environment. It is also supported by the Tindall Foundation.

“The LAWA initiative is part of the Government’s programme of improving information on the quality of our environment. Parliament this week passed the Environmental Reporting Act which will, for the first time, require fair and accurate reports on the state of our environment and give greater integrity to New Zealand’s clean, green brand. It is a truism that we manage what we measure. This new information on lake water quality will help lift management,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government’s plan for improving New Zealand freshwater management involves new national regulations, funding support for clean-ups and better reporting. We will be releasing a discussion paper in 2016 on the next steps we will be taking to support cleaner lakes and rivers.”