Manukau Harbour’s ecological health will be put under a scientifically backed microscope for the first time in a complex hydrodynamic study commissioned by council-controlled organisation Watercare.
Auckland’s water and wastewater services provider is funding a three-year research programme by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The study will establish a coupled hydrodynamic and water-quality model of New Zealand’s second-largest harbour.
Eye on water quality
The work will provide much-needed information on how nutrients enter the harbour and how they move around the harbour and the lower levels of the food web.
In Auckland Council’s 2014 State of Auckland Marine Report Card, the harbour received a D grade for water quality, contaminants and ecology, the result of years and, in some areas, decades of deterioration.
Step forward for Manukau, says councillor
Auckland councillor Denise Krum says the Manukau Harbour has for too long been the poor cousin to the Waitematā Harbour, and Watercare’s commitment to undertake modelling is a massive step forward.
“Knowledge is king and the reason why I pushed through an amendment to Auckland Council’s 10-year budget to raise the hydro modelling topic,” she says.
“Increased focus on the harbour will be incredibly important for our city given the population growth expected all along our shores. As a keen and competitive ocean swimmer, I’m excited to one day swim in a clean and safe Manukau.”