Te Waikoropūpū Springs in Golden Bay. Photo by Brittany Spencer.

‘International treasure could be ruined forever’

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The famous Te Waikoropūpū Springs are possibly in danger due to a new plan for water management by the Takaka Fresh Water and Land Advisory Group (FLAG).

Te Waikoropūpū springs are a sacred place, the largest freshwater springs in NZ, and have the third highest known visibility in the world, while attracting more than 91,000 tourists a year.

FLAG proposes to permit an over 70 per cent increase in water allocations for intensive irrigation, and to allow water levels to fall to as low as 70 per cent MALF (Mean Annual Low Flow) before issuing cease-take orders.

The new water management plan by Takaka FLAG will be presented to the public at an open day presentation at the Takaka Primary School on Friday.

The Save Our Springs campaign has encouraged the local community to attend the 6.30 pm presentation to ask questions and give feedback.

Steve Penny, Save Our Springs campaign founder says they want to protect and preserve the springs because of their enormous cultural, economic and spiritual for the community and tourists.

“Our community is concerned at the threat to the aquifer organisms (stygofauna) which keep Te Waikoropūpū pure. This international treasure could be ruined forever”, says Steve.

“Reliable experts advise that any more nitrate pollution from increased intensive dairying, or reduced dissolved oxygen levels from allowing irrigation when rivers fall below 100 per cent MALF, may potentially kill the unique and irreplaceable stygofauna that keep the springs pure.”