New Zealand is in a freshwater crisis. We know the quality of our rivers is in threat, but currently only 8% of Aotearoa’s 450,000km of rivers, lakes and streams are tested for water quality, because our processes are expensive and time consuming. Without this information, it is impossible to know if our rivers are safe for swimming.
This is where the team behind RiverWatch comes in. Winner of the 2016 WWF Conservation Award and finalist in the 2017 Wellington Gold Awards, once developed this water sensor could test water quality parameters to determine freshwater health. But they need your help to make that happen. W
We had a chat to Grant (pictured!) about why you should be pledging to have RiverWatch watch rivers for you:
Why do you think this campaign is important?
Its important that people see our PledgeMe campaign as a way they can directly contribute to helping cleaning up our rivers, lakes and streams. The government happily gives away millions to irrigation and zero to measuring the effects of agricultural intensification. I have been a fresh water activist campaigning for swimmable rivers for 8 years. Over this time I have determined two major impediments to cleaning things up. One we must have water quality data from at least 65% of our rivers and lakes. This sits at only 8% currently. The other major issue is sedimentation with NZ 10 times the world average we need to plant a lot of trees on riparian and slipping land ASAP.
RiverWatch has considered all of this in its design and the 5 probe launch model. Turbidity is vital telling us just how many days of the year the water is actually clean or clear. Dissolved oxygen indicates what fish can survive and the presence of algae blooms from high concentrations of water soluble nitrates and phosphate sedimentation. PH, Temp and Conductivity build back ground data that run with algorithms across DO& Turbidity providing indicator levels of nitrates & phosphate and if the river is swim-able or likely to pose risk to human health. When these are run across GPS weather data the readings are good enough to show no swim post, fishing data, yes good to swim, and many other indicator values.
What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?
So many people have got to the stage that all they see are problems with water and it goes into the to hard basket. There is a huge amount of false information out there on water quality mostly because of the lack of data, people feel confused. We wanted to reach out to them with a solution that will not cost them any more than their understanding the quality issue and a pledge. It is a direct way for them to contribute to tackling the problem.
What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?
Coming up we want to announce our collaboration with ESR and development of an E-Coli tester.
Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?
The team at RiverWatch have put in many thousands of hours and there own funds to get to where we are today with 100% support from not for profit WaiNZ
. We need just a small amount of money to put RiverWatch into a robust beta testing program prior to production. The best way NZers can help to clean up our rivers is to support RiverWatch.
To make a big splash and clean up our rivers, get pledging right here.