Four hopeful books for your Covid reading list

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Keep calm and read on.

While we’re all in lockdown, what better way to pass the time than by settling down with a good book? There’s no doubt that Coronavirus, or Covid-19, will significantly change the course of our society. It’s up to us to make sure those changes are as positive as possible. Here are some great reads to get you thinking about a better future.

1. Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

This collection of short stories, collated by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, calls itself ‘speculative fiction’. It comes in the form of imaginings from worlds without capitalism, with more justice, peace and compassion. Inspired by and named after science fiction writer Octavia Butler, these hopeful glimpses of a radically different future provide a compass to get us through these uncertain times.

2. 2040: A Handbook for Regeneration

Damon Gameau’s beautiful 2040 is an exploration of what might happen if we put our minds to creating a low-carbon world full of community, connection and renewal. Realistic but hopeful, both a practical manual and a source of inspiration, this book is an excellent partner to the documentary by the same name (great for whiling away some more lockdown time).

3. Hope in the Dark

Rebecca Solnit has written extensively about climate change, feminism and social justice. In this collection of essays, she combines her years of involvement in activism with wide-ranging lessons from change-makers throughout history to make a strong case for hope as a guiding and essential force when building better futures. An amazing read to remind you that despair rests on knowing exactly what happens next, and that beautiful things can arise from the unknown.

4. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming

Whether you want to stop oil drilling, end plastic pollution, clean up our rivers or make sure our oceans are protected, it can often feel like you’re working in isolation. Environmental and social issues can seem like they don’t have much crossover. But in Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken weaves together the stories of hundreds of different grassroots groups and NGOs, showing that the work we do benefits each other’s causes and sparks change as one diverse movement. Together, we’re powerful.

Remember, to have the best chance at slowing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our friends and whānau healthy, we need to be staying home as much as possible. And having a stack of inspiring books to keep you going makes it a whole lot easier!

Tell us in the comments what’s on your reading list and why.

READ MORE: 11 simple ways to care for each other during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic

Steep improvements seen in Auckland air quality, says NIWA

Source: NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

NIWA scientists say air quality has dramatically improved in Auckland since the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown was instigated.

In less than a week a steep drop in nitrogen oxide has occurred, particularly in suburban Auckland.

NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley says nitrogen oxide is found in pollutants from vehicle exhausts. They exacerbate asthma and are linked to numerous health impacts.

“At the Takapuna monitoring site, close to the Northern Motorway, nitrogen oxide levels at the end of last week were about a third lower than that normally seen during the morning rush hour. For the remaining daylight hours they were reduced by up to 80 per cent.”

Dr Longley says large fluctuations in air quality can occur between one day and the next due to changes in the weather and that quality is generally worse in winter and better in summer.

“This means it can be misleading to compare today’s air quality to yesterday’s or a few months ago.”

To account for this, Dr Longley has compared hourly data to average air quality in the last two weeks of March for the previous five years.

“In Henderson and Glen Eden, monitors reported nitrogen oxides falling effectively to zero on Thursday and Friday afternoons. On Queen Street, historically one of the most polluted locations in the country for traffic pollutants, the improvement was smaller but still dramatic with nitrogen oxide falling to half its usual level through most of Thursday.”

Dr Longley says reductions in levels of airborne particulate matter have been more modest—for example a 20 per cent drop in fine particles (PM2.5) at Takapuna during daylight hours. This probably reflects the fact that a significant proportion of particles in Auckland’s air come from natural sources, especially sea salt.

“Whether these reductions in air pollution are entirely due to the lockdown, or are merely reflecting fluctuations in the weather is not yet clear, but will become more obvious over the next couple of weeks.”

Routine automated air quality monitoring is conducted by regional councils and Dr Longley has been analysing unverified data. He is planning to look at data for Wellington and Christchurch in coming days.

Meanwhile, any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will take much longer to register. NIWA researchers, who monitor emissions such as carbon dioxide at Baring Head near Wellington, say while they expect to see a decrease in observed CO2 levels most of those changes will be in the northern hemisphere where emissions are concentrated.

GNS Science is committed to putting the safety of our staff, communities and stakeholders first – 30/03/2020

Source: GNS Science

We wanted to update you on our operations in light of the recent Covid-19 announcements.

  • All our sites (Avalon, Gracefield, Wairakei, Dunedin) are closed. Where possible staff are working at home
  • Some GNS Science activities – for example, the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre and GeoNet – are essential to New Zealand’s safety and will remain operational
  • Our labs will not be available for routine work and will not be open for receiving deliveries as normal
  • Lab staff are available on email to discuss questions and concerns, or follow up any requests you may have
  • GNS will continue to support our partners, stakeholders, clients and research collaborators with excellent science advice, analysis, project support and other services through these unprecedented times.

GNS will continue to support our partners, stakeholders, clients and research collaborators with excellent science advice, analysis, project support and other services through these unprecedented times.

For more information go to covid19.govt.nz

COVID-19 updates from Environment Canterbury

Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Update 2. 23 March, 2020

Following the Prime Ministers’ announcement today, Environment Canterbury office buildings are closed to the public until further notice. This includes the MetroInfo counter at the Bus Interchange.  

We will only be operating our offices for essential services staff until further notice.

 All of our staff will be working remotely, but you will still be able to contact our Customer Services staff by calling 0800 324 636 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm) or visit our contact us page.

Public transport

Major changes to bus services due to COVID-19:

  • From Thursday 26 March all bus services will run to the Sunday timetable, and will be for essential travel only. To help protect our drivers and to maintain the service, buses will have rear boarding only, and fares will not be required.
  • There are some exceptions and extensions to the normal Sunday timetables, to support people relying on public transport to reach essential services. Full details are available at Metroinfo
  • The Bus Interchange will be closed from Thursday 26 March and all central city services will use the Manchester St super stops instead.
  • In Timaru, fixed route buses stop on Thursday, and MyWay is available for essential trips only. People needing to use public transport for the legitimate reasons set out by the Government may book by calling 688 5544.
Please visit Metroinfo for the latest information.

Regional parks

While our parks are open to walkers/runners and cyclists, the firm message from the Government during COVID-19 Alert Level Four is to stay home, and when you need to get fresh air or exercise, do it close to home and ensure you keep a two-metre distance from other people at all times. To help support this, there will be restricted access to vehicles and shared facilities at our parks:

  • There will be no vehicle access (including trail bikes) to the Waimakariri River Regional Park areas, and toilet blocks will be locked.
  • At the Lake Tekapo Regional Park, the NZMCA caravan park will be closed, along with the toilet facilities.

If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask for the Duty Ranger.

Government COVID-19 updates

See the Government’s dedicated website covid19.govt.nz for the latest updates and advice.

You can also visit the Ministry of Health website for further detailed health information. 

GNS Science is committed to putting the safety of our staff, communities and stakeholders first.

Source: GNS Science

We wanted to update you on our operations in light of the recent Covid-19 announcements.

  • All our sites (Avalon, Gracefield, Wairakei, Dunedin) are closed. Where possible staff are working at home
  • Some GNS Science activities – for example, the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre and GeoNet – are essential to New Zealand’s safety and will remain operational
  • Our labs will not be available for routine work and will not be open for receiving deliveries as normal
  • Lab staff are available on email to discuss questions and concerns, or follow up any requests you may have
  • GNS will continue to support our partners, stakeholders, clients and research collaborators with excellent science advice, analysis, project support and other services through these unprecedented times.

GNS will continue to support our partners, stakeholders, clients and research collaborators with excellent science advice, analysis, project support and other services through these unprecedented times.

For more information go to covid19.govt.nz

We must demand a Green Covid Response

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic needs our attention right now, but recovery measures could be part of the solution to the climate emergency.

Right now, the coronavirus pandemic is the global priority. We all need to work together to save lives, look after each other and keep our communities strong. But, as Governments around the world take steps to smooth the economic shock of Covid-19, we have an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild our society in ways that tackle the ongoing climate, inequality and biodiversity crises. With the right recovery strategy, this could be the moment we take the measures that solve the climate crisis at the same time we work to protect our people and communities from this one. 

This could be the turning point.

We are now all facing challenges on a scale that would have been unimaginable only a few months ago. All over New Zealand, people frightened for the health of their loved ones are also worrying how they will pay their rent, feed their families and keep their jobs or businesses going.

The coming days and weeks will be tough.

In the short term, every effort must be targeted at protecting those who need it most. 

But once we are past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will still have a climate crisis to tackle, oceans to protect, and forests to save. One thing’s for sure – Greenpeace will not lose sight of that, our work continues.

Greenpeace has a long history of reacting and adapting to changing world events – and that is what we will do now. We will find ways to continue to have an impact and to influence governments and corporations as events unfold.

During this time, the government will inject billions into the economy to keep it afloat. 

This is a huge opportunity.

We have the opportunity to direct that money towards clean industries, to set in place a greener economy, and create a more resilient system that puts people and planet first. 

The government can go beyond protecting what exists today to providing an economic stimulus package to help us build a new tomorrow.

We will soon be in one of those rare moments when left and right both agree on the need for large-scale state intervention. And it’s happening against a backdrop of climate change — history’s biggest-ever market failure. This is where intervention becomes necessary, not just for our prosperity but for our survival.

So when governments intervene in a big way to jump-start the recovery, it’s important the support they provide isn’t just a temporary crutch for the big corporations propelling us towards the next crisis.

The normality we were used to won’t pop back into existence without a push, and as we’re going to be pushing, let’s choose a direction to push in.

There is a risk that the high-emissions industries, with easy access to ministers, will have their hands out for government support. If given, this support will sink us deeper into the crisis they have caused.

Decisions are being made now on how we will spend our collective wealth rebuilding the economy, so let’s be clear about what we want from the deal. 

Bailouts and stimulus funds need to be tied to social benefits – if we’re paying for companies to provide continued employment, make that a clause in the contract. And where there is potential demand for transport, energy or other goods, let’s fill the gaps by supporting companies that can provide low-carbon solutions that solve two problems for the price of one.

When we’re building houses, let’s make them zero carbon houses, equipped with solar panels and batteries.

When we design government schemes to get laid off workers back into work, let’s give them decent jobs with a real future, in factories, farms and offices that are designed to be sustainable in our carbon-constrained reality. And, importantly, jobs that won’t need a second bailout to cope with tightening restrictions on climate pollution.

Last week, International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol urged political and financial leaders to drive global climate action through their economic stimulus packages. As well as promoting economic recovery, Birol suggests they could also accelerate the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Let’s do this.

Despite the trauma we are all going through, this is the time we must think about it. If we ignore it now, those lobbyists may get their way and use the stimulus to lock us into a disastrous high-carbon future that we were just starting to steer away from. And that mistake will cost the economy many billions of dollars as well as many lives and livelihoods.

By using the stimulus as part of a low carbon transition plan, a Green Covid Response, we could emerge from beneath the dark cloud that has settled over all of our lives with a new contract between government, business, people and the planet. One that would protect our health, our homes and our environment. A way forward that would ensure a future for our children.

Many people will soon suffer unbearable loss. Some already have. The priority in this moment must be saving lives and livelihoods. The short-term is frightening and uncertain, and the short term is where we all live. 

These are not the end times. If the government gets the stimulus wrong, it could accelerate us towards them, certainly in terms of climate change. But if we work together to help them get it right, this could be the moment we use what we have learned about how fragile and interconnected we all are to solve the climate crisis at the very moment we escape from this one.

In the meantime, let’s take care of ourselves, and each other. There are so many ways to support communities at a time of crisis – both online and in real life. We’ve made a list below of useful organisations and resources for you to investigate, including ways that you can give or receive help at this time.

The connectedness of our planet has never been more clear. And whatever happens, we’re all in this together.

Science voyage cut short for researchers, crew to be with family

Source: NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

NIWA’s flagship research ship Tangaroa returned to Wellington yesterday after cutting short an international scientific voyage taking place off the east coast of New Zealand.

Tangaroa left Wellington on 12 March and was originally due to return on 6 April. The ship left before COVID-19 Alert Levels were announced, however those on board were pre-screened and asked to declare any symptoms. No illness was reported during the voyage, and the two-week incubation period meant all have returned free of the virus.

Researchers were intending to study how phytoplankton in the sea interact with clouds and affect the climate. Additional specialist equipment from France and Australia had been installed on board.

While the ship could have remained at sea until its intended return, NIWA vessels manager Greg Foothead said the decision was made to bring the ship back early so those on board could be reunited with families in the nationwide lockdown.

“The main concern of those on board was for loved ones at home, especially those at higher risk and with young families.”

There were 35 people on board, including 15 crew. Complicating the return of the ship were seven foreign nationals taking part in the voyage—five French researchers, one German and one American.

Mr Foothead said NIWA sought advice from the relevant embassies and worked with them to help those people to secure flights. They are staying in isolation at a Wellington motel.

“The process went incredibly well considering that we are just into the first few days of lockdown and we were all working from home to make this happen. I have been very impressed with how everyone came together to make it work under difficult circumstances.”

NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan said it was important that staff were with their families at this time and he had no hesitation in cutting the voyage short.

“This is a great outcome, and it will be a relief to have everyone safely back in their own homes.”

Tangaroa will remain in Wellington with two crew for the duration of the lockdown. Mr Foothead said there was now plenty of spare food for them.

All NIWA voyages have been cancelled until at least the end of April.

How the deep ocean is helping in the fight against Covid-19

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

To fight Covid-19 the World Health Organisation has told all countries: test, test, test. Around the world, doctors are testing thousands of people for the virus every day. But what you may not know is that our ability to do such tests is thanks to the mysterious depths of the ocean.

When I picture the ocean I normally imagine the rich waters at the surface or near the coast, pods of dolphins breaching the surface or schools of fish catching the sunlight. We imagine whales and turtles, all the wonderful life we’re lucky enough to see. But in its depths the ocean has hidden kingdoms of geothermal activity, that are home to strange creatures like cutthroat eels and red-lipped tubeworms. Here live marine organisms that thrive under incredible heat and pressure, in noxious gases and with zero oxygen. While these places might seem like the most inhospitable environments on the planet, scientists believe that the deep sea has some of the most biodiverse places on Earth. 

The Lost City hydrothermal field
[cc: IFE, URI-IAO, UW, Lost City Science Party; NOAA/OAR/OER; The Lost City 2005 Expedition.]

In hydrothermal vents off the coast of Italy, scientists discovered microbes containing enzymes that remained stable at extreme temperatures. This discovery allowed scientists to develop the techniques and technology we are using today to quickly diagnose the Covid-19 virus.  

But Covid-19 isn’t the first time the deep sea has helped humanity. Compounds found here have given us new treatments for cancer. Scientists believe there could be new antibiotics developed from what we find in the deep sea, which will be crucial in our fight against superbugs. These unstudied depths could also hold the key to understanding the beginnings of life on earth.

There is still so much to discover here. 

Crab, zoarcid fish, tube worms
[cc: Richard Lutz, Rutgers University, Stephen Low Productions, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.]

We know less about what lies in the depths of the ocean, than we know about the surface of the moon.  Far off our coastlines – further than our freestyle stroke, bowrider, or surf board can go – lies the unfathomable enormity and mystery of the high seas. Less than 0.0001% of it has ever been scientifically explored. Imagine what we could find there, if we were given time. 

But unfortunately, there are others who are interested in the deep sea and seabed. 

New technology means the seabed is now within the range of big mining companies too. These same areas that could have so much potential for the good of all humanity, also hold rare earth metals and minerals that could be sold for profit. And mining companies are already pushing to get their hands on them. 

The race is on for seabed mining companies to claim the new frontier, and start extracting. 

And there’s little to no protection for these places, far out of reach for most of us. International waters are under an ad-hoc patchwork of laws that leaves most of the ocean unprotected. This is essentially lawless territory, where those with the means to take from them can and will.

What is seabed mining?

Seabed miners suck up the seafloor from the depths and pump it up to a ship above, they sift out the desired materials, and discard all the unwanted matter back to the seafloor, creating sediment plumes. The science shows that not only do they decimate the areas extracted, the dumping of the unwanted matter smothers the surrounding seafloor and blocks the light filtering from above. This has enormous consequences for all marine life and for fisheries. 

The ocean is a complex ecological system, providing the oxygen that we breathe, regulating our climate and feeding over a billion people worldwide. Mass disruption of its depths is a risk for all life on Earth, not just that in the immediate vicinity. The biodiversity down there may not always be beautiful, but it is still worthy of our protection. 

If we have learned anything from our industrial history, it’s that when we interfere with nature, we reap the consequences. Around the world we are dealing with the fallout of this take, take, take mentality, one that has been the residing thought process of the past century. We are learning now how very wrong we were. 

As we scramble to respond to emergencies of our own creation, be they the climate crisis or the associated biodiversity breakdown, it is beyond belief that we would open Pandora’s box to seabed mining and usher in a new era of destruction. This is especially absurd considering how these ocean ecosystems have already been shown to benefit humanity. 

Despite there being no regulation or framework for environmental protection, seabed mining companies already have early exploration permits in international waters. Right now, companies are attempting to get permits to seabed mine in New Zealand waters. Elsewhere, huge multinationals are pressuring other nations to give over access to their seas, all to line their pockets. 

How can we protect the oceans?

Around the world calls are growing for a halt on seabed mining, with everyone from concerned concerned environmental groups to pacific nations like Vanuatu and Fiji resisting this new and dangerous industry. Papua New Guinea, an early issuer of licenses to seabed mine, is now backtracking, and calling for a moratorium on the practice. In the last few days the U.K has also made commitments to wait for more science before proceeding with mining, with prominent environmentalist David Attenborough also warning against rushing in.

Attenborough said: “The rush to mine this pristine and unexplored environment risks creating terrible impacts that cannot be reversed. We need to be guided by science when faced with decisions of such great environmental consequence.” 

In times of crisis, we must all decide which path we want to take. Do we want to sanction more destruction of biodiversity, a new generation of extractive industry, and more profit at any cost? Or will we take a stand to protect nature, and preserve these places for the common good of planet Earth and of humanity?

We are living through uncertain times. Covid-19 has thrown millions of lives into chaos. But we know from experience that even through these times some companies will continue their march towards destroying our Earth and our oceans. For all our sakes, I truly hope that in these trying times, we do not lose sight of the fact that protecting these vital ecosystems is inextricable from protecting the health of humans and all life on Earth.  

What you can do at home

From the very beginning, Greenpeace has campaigned to protect our oceans. The most recent campaign focus has been on protecting international waters, or the ‘High Seas,’ which saw us travel from Pole to Pole over the last year. International waters make up the vast majority of the global oceans, but they face a multitude of threats. From deep sea mining to destructive fishing, climate crisis to pollution, the oceans are under threat like never before. And as discussed above, the current approach for protecting them is so fragmented, it simply isn’t working. Time is running out to make sure we do not lose the greatest common good we have.

We’ve been asking people to join one of our most ambitious conservation efforts ever – protecting a third of the world’s oceans by 2030. If you have a moment, I urge you to add your name to the millions who want to see this made a reality.

If you’ve already signed, please consider sharing it with friends and family.

As we all endeavor to hold our loved ones close and protect them during these times of uncertainty, we must not forget that protecting nature is paramount to our collective health.

GPNZ is fighting a legal battle to stop a seabed mine off the coast of Taranaki in New Zealand. Support us to do this – donate now.

First ruling released on removal of BWO vessel from Tui oil field

Source: Environmental Protection Authority

The EPA has issued a ruling that allows BW Offshore (BWO) to disconnect the mooring lines and retrieve the anchors of its vessel in the Tui oil field.

The ruling is one of two rulings sought by BWO for a series of activities required to remove its vessel from the Tamarind oil field off the coast of Taranaki.

In effect, BWO cannot yet begin to disconnect its vessel, as the other activities required to disconnect are the subject of a second ruling that is still to be determined.

The EPA has determined that the effects on the environment and existing interests of disconnecting the mooring lines and retrieving the anchors are likely to be “minor or less than minor”.

Read the Ruling EEZ500028 recommendation memorandum and the ruling certificate.

BWO sought two rulings to allow it to remove its vessel

BW Offshore (BWO) wishes to remove its vessel (Floating Production and Storage Offloading ship – FPSO) from the Tui oil field. Oil production in the Tui field has stopped due to the insolvency of operator Tamarind Taranaki Limited (TTL).

There is a series of activities that would have to happen in sequence before BWO could remove its FPSO (the Umuroa).

BWO sought two rulings from the EPA to allow it to proceed:

  • The first ruling covers the disconnection of the mooring lines and retrieval of the anchors.
  • The second ruling covers the disconnection of the FPSO from equipment on the seafloor.

Disconnection of the mooring lines and retrieval of the anchors are activities that would occur at the end of the sequence of activity to remove the FPSO.  First, the FPSO would need to be disconnected from the equipment on the seafloor. However, this activity is the subject of the second ruling, and this ruling has not yet been decided.

None of the activity covered by either the first or the second ruling can happen until the second ruling is decided.  

In deciding the first ruling, the EPA sought the views of parties with existing interests including four iwi in Taranaki, and Tamarind Taranaki Ltd.

Rulings are issued on activity that started before the EEZ Act

Rulings allow petroleum operators to continue with activities that existed before the EEZ Act came into force.

The EPA can issue a ruling only if it considers the adverse effects of the activities, on the environment or existing interests, are likely to be minor or less than minor.

Rulings are provided under s162(2) of the EEZ Act.

Compliance action in relation to BWO activity

The EPA is currently taking compliance action against BWO in relation to activities it was undertaking in the Tui oil field.

The EPA served four abatement notices on BWO and a BWO staff member.

This compliance activity is a separate matter from the ruling that was issued today and the second ruling that is still being considered by the EPA.

Read about the abatement notices

Read background information on Tamarind Taranaki Limited and BW Offshore

Plan Change 7 and Plan Change 2 – What you need to know

Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

1. Look Up table for Waimakariri nitrate modelling

The look up table below was not released as part of the supporting material when proposed Plan Change 7 was notified. At the request of an interested party during the submission period, this has now been made available.

The look up table reflects the adjustments described in Section 2.4.3 of “Preparation of land use and nitrogen-loss data for the Waimakariri Zone limit-setting process” (Lilburne et al, 2019), and only includes the look up table rows associated with Matrix of Good Management Practice Overseer files – the rows describing the arable, sheep, beef and deer, and dairy land uses.

Waimakariri modelling

The two reports below were not released as part of the supporting material when proposed Plan Change 7 was notified. At the request of an interested party during the submission period, these have now been made available.

2. Nitrogen concentrations

A request was made by the Waimakariri Primary Industry Network Group quarterly meeting held on 23 August 2019 for a table that sets out, for each waterbody (including groundwater) the current measured nitrate concentration, predicted nitrate concentration (under Current Pathways) and the predicted nitrate concentration under proposed Plan Change 7 provisions.

Compiling all the data into one table is difficult because groundwater and surface water have different data sources and assumptions. However, we have provided the relevant information for private water supply well areas, Waimakariri District Council (WDC) community supply wells, Christchurch deep aquifer areas and surface water bodies in the following tables.

These tables were collated from tables included in the Waimakariri Land and Water Solutions Programme Options and Solutions Assessment Nitrate Management report (Kreleger and Etheridge, 2019, Environment Canterbury). We note that the predicted nitrate concentration under Plan Change 7 included in the following table is the target nitrate concentrations provided in Plan Change 7.

Regarding the request that the table identify the trend of concentrations, nitrate concentration trends for surface water bodies were calculated and are included in the tables.

Trends in nitrate concentration for the private water supply areas and the WDC community supply wells were not calculated. Monitoring results for the Christchurch deep aquifer show that nitrate concentrations are increasing over time, but remain very low – between 0.1-0.8 mg/L.

Our Current State of Groundwater Quality in the Waimakariri CWMS zone report (Scott et al., 2016, Environment Canterbury) noted that groundwater nitrate concentrations in two of our long-term monitoring wells, at Eyrewell and Ohoka, are increasing.

Concentrations have increased from around 6.5 mg/L to 7.5 mg/L nitrate at our monitoring site in Ohoka and from 4.5 to 7 mg/L at Eyrewell over the past 10 years. Data from the Springbank monitoring well near the Cust River show a decreasing trend in nitrate concentrations from nearly 16 mg/L to below the drinking-water Maximum Acceptable Value (MAV). Nitrate concentrations are generally increasing in the Kaiapoi River catchment.

The report further notes that a declining or increasing nitrate trend should be interpreted with caution, and within the context of the other processes (such as climate variability and lag times) which affect groundwater and stream nitrate concentrations.

GMP and Current Pathways – Nitrate modelling results for Private Well Supply Areas (PWSAs)

Adjusted from Table 4-8 Nitrate management report (Kreleger and Etheridge, 2019)

Concentrations are presented in 50th percentile model results, with 5th and 95th percentile results between brackets.

Private Well Supply Areas Current measured Nitrate-N (mg/L) Current pathways calculated Nitrate-N (mg/L) PC7 Nitrate-N target(mg/L) Predicted Nitrate-N under PC7 (mg/L)
Clarkville 4.4 8.2 5.65 5.65
  (0.5 – 9.4) (5.0-11.7)    
Cust 4.4 6.7 5.65 5.65
  (0.05 – 8.8) (3.9-9.7)    
Eyreton (shallow) 5.2 12.3 5.65 5.65
  (0.6 – 9.6) (8.3-16.6)    
Eyreton (deep) 5.2 15.2 5.65 5.65
  (0.6 – 9.6) (7.4-24.0)    
Fernside 3.7 4.9 5.65 <4.9
  (0.04 – 8.8) (2.2-7.8)    
North East Eyrewell (shallow) 3.6 4.9 5.65 5.65
  (0.7 – 7.0) (2.5-13.6)    
North East Eyrewell (deep) 3.6 6.6 5.65 5.65
  (0.7 – 7.0) (4.0-11.5)    
Flaxton 4.4 3.5 5.65 <3.5
  (0.05 – 8.8) (2.0-6.3)    
Horellville 3.7 4.6 5.65 <4.6
  (0.04 – 8.8) (2.2-7.2)    
Mandeville 4.4 4.8 5.65 <4.8
  (0.05 – 8.8) (2.3-8.9)    
North West Eyrewell (shallow) 3.6 6.3 5.65 5.65
  (0.7 – 7.0) (2.0-12.5)    
North West Eyrewell (deep) 3.6 7.7 5.65 5.65
  (0.7 – 7.0) (2.1-14.5)    
Ohoka (shallow) 4.4 6.3 5.65 5.65
  (0.05 – 8.8) (4.0-8.7)    
Ohoka (deep) 4.4 7.5 5.65 5.65
  (0.05 – 8.8) (4.4-10.9)    
Rangiora 0.5 2.7 5.65 <2.7
  (0.3 – 0.7) (0.4-6.7)    
Springbank 3.7 6.6 5.65 5.65
  (0.04 – 8.8) (4.0-9.5)    
Summerhill 3.7 6.6 5.65 5.65
  (0.04 – 8.8) (5.0-16.1)    
Swannanoa (shallow) 3.7 7.1 5.65 5.65
  (0.04 – 8.8) (3.0-12.1)    
Swannanoa (deep) 4.4 8.4 5.65 5.65
  (0.05 – 8.8) (4.4-12.5)    
Waikuku 0.8 1.3 5.65 <1.3
  (0.03 – 3.8) (0.6-3.5)    
West Eyreton (shallow) 3.7 5.6 5.65 <5.6
  (0.04 – 8.8) (2.8-11.1)    
West Eyreton (deep) 3.7 6.3 5.65 5.65
  (0.04 – 8.8) (3.7-9.3)    
Woodend – Tuahiwi 0.8 2.8 5.65 <2.8
  (0.03 – 3.8) (0.8-6.4)    

3. Particle tracking modelling

The modelling files below were not released as part of the supporting material when proposed Plan Change 7 was notified. At the request of an interested party during the submission period, these have now been made available. The reports which this modelling informed are available under ‘Supporting documents and disciplines’.

What is NetCDF as a groundwater model output format?

The USGS MODFLOW code has become the most widely used groundwater flow code throughout the world since its release in 1989. Because MODFLOW is a plain FORTRAN code with no graphical user interface (GUI) or visualisation capabilities, model results visualisation and analysis is usually done with commercial or open-source packages, and self-made FORTRAN snippets.

The output format of MODFLOW is a FORTRAN binary which may vary depending on compilers and platforms. NetCDF, on the other hand, is a standardised, sharable and compact format which can be read and visualised with numerous free and commercial packages including R. It is also possible to embed useful geospatial information like coordinates, projection and grid discretisation in the NetCDF which are absent in the FORTRAN binary.

Using NetCDF as a standard model output format would allow modelers and non-modelers to easily share, visualise and plot model results using readily available software (R, ArcGIS, MS Excel, Paraview, GRASS GIS, SAGA GIS…etc). NetCDF is a particularly good format for storing large, multidimensional datasets.

Many NetCDF tools were designed for the climate community, whose datasets are often orders of magnitude larger than datasets typically used in groundwater modeling. In this study R was used to generate a NetCDF file from a MODFLOW binary output and example analyses and visualisations were implemented. R has extensive statistical and plotting capabilities which are available to the user once MODFLOW outputs are available in NetCDF format.

Source: The case for NetCDF as a groundwater model output format using R: Example using USGS MODFLOW
Authors: Coulibaly, K. M.; Barnes, M.; Barnes, D.
Affiliation: AA (Schlumberger Water Services, Fort Myers, FL, USA; kcoulibaly2@slb.com), AB (Chesapeake Research Consortium, Chesapeake, MD, USA; mbarnes@chesapeakebay.net), AC (Schlumberger Water Services, Fort Myers, FL, USA; davb@alum.mit.edu)
Publication: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract id. H11B-1059

4. Nitrate loading

The folder below was not released as part of the supporting material when proposed Plan Change 7 was notified. At the request of an interested party during the submission period the raster products showing estimates of diffuse nitrate (N) losses and drainage rates beneath the root zone, for the current, Plan Change 5 and Zone Implementation Programme Addendum scenarios described in Lilburne et al. (2019) have been made available.

A readme file provides some metadata linking the raster files to the modelled scenarios and outputs.