The summary of the key points is as follows:
Every catchment is different
The intensification of agriculture and its impact on water quality is a national issue, but water quality problems are primarily in some catchments, but not all. Intensification is not occuring everywhere and most NIWA water quality monitoring sites show stable or improving trends, not deterioration.
The policy framework is in place
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS) is a massive step forward in resource management because it will drive decisions on water quality and quantity limits. The process of limit-setting will be as important as the result. It will not only build community understanding of what affects water quality but capture commitment across all the different sectors that need to take action.
A lot is already being done
Smarter dairy farming is making a difference already and dairy farmers are supporting the faster implementation of the NPS. Significant water quality issues have been identified by regional councils and the dairy industry is already providing resources, expertise and industry support to address them. Examples are Waituna Lagoon, Ellesmere/Te Waihora, Lake Rotorua, Upper Waikato River, Mangatainoka (Manawatu), Mangere catchment.
A summary of the session was reported here on the news site interest.co.nz.
A copy of the submission can be viewed here.