Water is one of the most important issues for New Zealanders and yet our waterways are in crisis.
The state of our fresh water
Our rivers, lakes, and streams are being polluted and too much water is being taken from them. The major driver of our freshwater crisis is intensive agriculture.
The situation is being made worse by climate change and increasing droughts, which reduce river flows and intensify the pollution.
For local communities, this means our favourite swimming holes are increasingly unsafe due to high bacterial levels, or toxic algal blooms.
But for our freshwater fish, insects and plants, their very survival is under threat.
Nature needs liveable rivers
We can't live without fresh water and neither can the fish, birds, insects and plants that rely on clean water to survive and thrive.
31 percent of our freshwater plants, 74 percent of our freshwater fish, and 34 percent of our freshwater invertebrates are at risk of extinction.
As wetlands are drained and streams are dried up, the species that rely on freshwater have fewer places to live. Increased run-off from agriculture and algal blooms are making many of our rivers and lakes toxic and stripping the oxygen that our freshwater species need to survive.
Forest & Bird is defending freshwater
- We advocate for strong rules to protect our fresh water.
- We hold regional councils to account, and defend our rivers and lakes in the courts.
- We promote alternatives to environmentally damaging irrigation schemes.
- Our branches are involved in practical work to restore our waterways.
We need your help. Join our fight for fresh water.