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Forest & Bird is calling on New Zealanders to support an application for a Water Conservation Order over Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay.

“New Zealanders love Te Waikoropupū Springs – the astounding clarity of the water and its cultural significance,” says Forest & Bird regional manager Debs Martin.

“But most people would be surprised to hear that this treasured place is under threat. There have been mining applications in the catchment and the Tasman District Council is proposing to increase the area of irrigated land, despite knowing that will increase nitrates in the aquifers beneath the springs.

“In fact the springs are already at their ecological limits, with nitrate levels already at the upper limit advised by NIWA and close to the trigger level for ecological concern.

“If you care about Te Waikoropupū Springs – if you’ve visited them, if you think that keeping them clean is important – please take the time now to tell the hearing panel what you think."

The application for a Water Conservation Order was made last year by Ngāti Tama Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Golden Bay resident Andrew Yuill. The public can make submissions up until 28 February and a Special Tribunal will consider the matter at a public hearing in April.

Forest & Bird has set up a webpage for people to support the Water Conservation Order, or submissions can be made through the Environmental Protection Authority.

There are 15 water bodies around New Zealand that have been gazetted with Water Conservation Values for their outstanding values, and Forest & Bird is currently seeking similar protection on the Ngaruroro River. “New Zealand’s fresh water is in crisis,” says Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Annabeth Cohen. “The majority of our native freshwater fish, and a third of our freshwater plants and bugs are on the brink.

“A Water Conservation Order is the best tool we have for protecting the outstanding values of outstanding places like Te Waikoropupū Springs.

“So today – on Valentine’s Day – we’d like New Zealanders to show their love for fresh water by speaking out for this very special place.”

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