Consent from a number of landowners and property owners in Muri is seeing progress made on uncovering the source of issues with the Muri lagoon.
This week, a work crew began drilling to install deep monitoring wells in Muri, to be used to test groundwater for nitrogen and phosphorus.
The location and level of these nutrients in groundwater will help the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai Project Management Unit (PMU) assess what factors and other activities contribute to Muri lagoon’s water quality.
According to the PMU, there’s not enough information to understand groundwater quality in the Muri catchment and how it flows to the lagoon, affecting the deterioration of Muri Lagoon’s water quality.
A number of factors are likely to have contributed to the problems, including wastewater, current and historical agricultural land-use, development, changes to lagoon dynamics, and erosion.
In locations where ongoing monitoring is needed, a drilling rig is being used to install a borehole to install a monitoring well. These wells will be removed and covered after a period of five years.
In locations where short-term monitoring of groundwater is required (up to 12 months), temporary wells are being installed using hand-held tools.
Over the past few months, the PMU has obtained consent from landowners and property owners to drill and install monitoring wells and equipment.
“We appreciate the support we’ve received from the Aronga Mana, property owners, landowners, and the community as we work together to protect the future of the Muri lagoon,” says Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project manager Evan Mayson.
“We can combine the information we get from the groundwater testing with the soil data recently collected by the Ministry of Agriculture, to gain more understanding of what’s impacting the lagoon’s water quality.”
The main investigations are now getting underway, with further sites to be confirmed soon.
In addition to the monitoring wells, the PMU will also install monitoring equipment near stream mouths, in the lagoon, and take samples along the streams and wetlands from time-to-time.
The first complete lagoon, stream and groundwater monitoring round will be undertaken in February, with cooperation from the Ministry of Marine Resources, Southern Cross University and University of New South Wales.
The installation of monitoring wells is expected to be completed in early 2018, and the results will be published as they become available.
To stay informed about the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project,visit the projects website www.vaikitevai.com or contact the PMU on 28851 with any queries or to subscribe to the monthly newsletter which is available in both English and Maori.
- Matariki Wilson