How do I test my waterways?

Shona is passionate about waterways, so much so she is a part of Wai Care which is a water quality monitoring, education and action programme that intends to protect waterways and catchments across the Auckland region. By signing up you receive training, a water testing kit enabling you to test your steams and waterways looking at water temperature and water clarity to check nitrates, phosphates which you can record regularly to help you make improvements.

It's so important to check your water on a lifestyle block because you are using the water for your animals and the food you grow to eat. Shona has a great quote that encapsulates the work she does “Treating the land kindly, do no harm”.

There are many other groups that you too can join across NZ, just search water way group followed by your region to find a waterways group in your area. Shona is also a part of Kumeū Small Landowners Association where she does water testing for members who own over 20 hectares with streams feeding into the Kaipara Harbour. This is important to reduce the sediment that runs into the Kaipara. Sediment can negatively impact the waterways as it turns the water murky which can block fish gills, smother the habitat that fish live and promote slime algae growth. With Shona’s efforts they have seen Tuna and Kōura (freshwater crayfish) in their own stream.

And the list of community and environmental good doesn’t end there! Shona and Philipp have worked with local schools to restore waterways. Trees for survival is a Rotary project that gets schools to plant trees by waterways. They worked with a neighbouring farmer to plant 8,000 native trees with a local school. Goes to show that many hands make light work.

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