Connecting with New Zealand’s environment through data
Who: Regional & Unitary Councils, Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment, Massey University
What: A web-based platform which displays state and trend information for freshwater monitoring sites throughout New Zealand in an easy-to-understand format
Why: To help communities find the balance between using natural resources and maintaining their quality and availability
When: 2012 –
Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) is a collaboration of organisations with a common aim: to tell the story of our environment.
Initially a partnership between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils, LAWA has grown to include the Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and Massey University with support from the private Tindall Foundation.
Established to help local communities find the balance between using natural resources and maintaining their quality and availability, LAWA allows data collected at individual councils to be shared and compared.
“LAWA is the first time the people can learn about the state of New Zealand’s rivers and beaches in one place.”
LAWA is the first time users can look at data for a site, catchment, region or the country in one place and in a standardised way. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to allow users to learn about the state of New Zealand’s rivers and beaches.
LAWA’s data is used by NIWA and other CRIs for national-based studies and tools development. For example, NIWA is carrying out a two-year programme to develop an up-to-date regional flood estimation tool for New Zealand and drawing together data from over 600 monitoring sites across the country.
The principal impact of LAWA is to give the public information about the state and trends for New Zealand’s national water resources, from local to national scale. This allows people to assess whether it is safe to swim or fish in the 350 beaches and 1,100 rivers around the country.
Photo: Tobi Firestone