Fording the rapids: charting a course to fresher water

Water usage Fresh water Water conservation Water governance Water supply New Zealand

Providing future generations with rivers and aquifers at least as clean as our generation found them requires durable freshwater management systems that can stand the test of time. Regulatory measures can improve outcomes for now. But sustained improvement may require substantial and costly changes in land use – at least in some places. Imposing substantial cost on existing users of water resources, whether these users be farmers or council wastewater facilities, makes it harder to sustain support for necessary changes.

This report argues for cap-and-trade approaches to fresh water management, based on a strengthened version of the Taupō nutrient management system, beginning in areas large enough to warrant the approach – like Canterbury and Waikato.

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