Farmers with a KAWS

Following on from the Farm Chat event hosted by Clean Streams Karamea,
a small number of farmers has set up a group to test waterways that pass
through their farms. This group is named Karamea Area Water Sampling.
At the moment we will be undertaking monthly sampling down Blackwater
and Granite Creeks at all farm boundaries, or at least as near as is easily
This testing will include clarity, nitrate, phosphorus and E. coli testing.
Although only in-field or kitchen bench results will be available, the West
Coast Regional Council has offered to subsidise E. coli lab sampling for at
least one test with the locations labeled randomly unless the landowner
chooses to share results with the council staff. All in-house test results will
be given only to the landowner to do with as they wish.
There is also the possibility of doing macro-invertebrate sampling, though
as this is more time-consuming it will not happen often or regularly.
This service is set up to help the farmers understand what happens to
waterways as they pass through farmlands, and for farmers to take what
action they wish. Because results are given only to the land-owner other
people will not be able to use the data to point fingers. You don’t know
where a problem is, or how big it is, unless you have the data to look at and
it is hoped this is a first step towards understanding and, where necessary,
remediating fresh water bodies.
At this stage we are looking at getting support from other farmers in the
wider Karamea Area so we can then apply to outside sources for more
funding to buy another test kit and waders. Water sampling can also be
given to farmers outside the Granite and Blackwater Creek areas, but only
on an as-requested basis and for a fee to cover the cost of fuel and
consumables. Testing will also not be immediately as I have to figure out
what I’m doing by sampling our farm a couple of times first, when the
weather improves. Once again, results will be given only to the landowner.
Our thanks to Clean Streams Karamea for getting the ball rolling, West
Coast Regional Council for equipment and advice, and Landcare Trust for
pointing us in the right direction.
For further information, to offer support, or register an interest in having a
test done, please contact Caroline Jones (cb [dot] jonesatfarmside [dot] co [dot] nz),
coordinator, KAWS.

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