Should we be able to swim in our rivers?
Water quality has been in the news a lot this year – in particular the Impact of dairy effluent on rivers in New Zealand.
But if we want to swim in our rivers we have to deal with other issues as well – such as bacteria.
Around a quarter of our monitored rivers aren’t fit for swimming because you might swallow something nasty. Some rural drinking water supplies are also affected.
This problem is caused by poo in our rivers, and in this case dairy farming (usually) isn’t the main problem.
Sheep and beef farms don’t have to fence their waterways, so their animals can still legally poop in our rivers. And only half of rural and provincial sewage schemes meet their resource consent conditions.
If we want to swim in our rivers, we have to stop dumping our shit in them. Literally.