Environment Ministry and Fonterra fund project to improve rural water quality in China

A joint New Zealand-China environmental science project investigating ways to improve water quality has started a series of field trials on a New Zealand-owned farm.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce was in China when he announced the joint project, describing it as an important step in reducing nutrient discharges into waterways.

“Managing nutrient discharge is an important environmental issue for both New Zealand and China. It’s encouraging that our scientists are sharing their expertise and working together to reduce pollution in rural waterways in China,” Mr Joyce says.

“Our growing relationship with China is delivering huge benefits to both countries and this project is a good example of the deepening of the environment and science relationship. This project combines New Zealand government, science and business working together in China to help protect the environment.

“I’m delighted the New Zealand Government is supporting it. I see this as part of a continued deepening of our relationship, and hope to see more projects where New Zealand and China can work together to improve the environment. No country is immune from environmental challenges in agriculture.

“Reducing rural water pollution is a key priority under the agreement.”

The project was developed as a result of the bilateral New Zealand-China Environment Cooperation Agreement which was signed in 2008. The agreement aims to jointly address environmental issues and work towards the promotion of sustainable development

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment and Fonterra are funding the trials while the New Zealand Crown Research Institute AgResearch is providing technical support.

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Tsinghua University’s School of Environment are partners in the project.

The project will test different ways of using stock effluent as fertiliser and how this affects plant growth, nutrient uptake, greenhouse gas emissions, and the quality and quantity of leachate or runoff. It involves six different cropping trials running from October 2013 until mid-2015.

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