Nutrient trading: a viable solution to water quality management in Selwyn District?
Water quality is quickly becoming one of the most pressing environmental issues the world over. While historically New Zealand has enjoyed a relatively high quality of water, recent intensification of land use has resulted in its steady decline. This decline is highlighted perhaps no where better than in Selwyn District where all but the mountain rivers exceeded guideline values for nutrient enrichment. This observed state highlights the failure of the current regularity approach to successfully manage the tradeoffs between economic development and ecological conservation. Nutrient Trading Programs are an innovative approach to water quality management with a demonstrated ability to successfully manage these tradeoffs. Despite examples of its effectiveness in a number of applications throughout the world, Nutrient Trading Programs are not suitable in all circumstances. This dissertation evaluates the viability of a Nutrient Trading Program as an effective water quality management tool in the Selwyn District. Drawing from a range of evaluation studies, it develops a framework of four parameters through which this viability can be determined. Applying this framework to Selwyn District it highlights the current state of these determinant variables in the district and assess there likely impact on the success of a Nutrient Trading Program. Overall this analysis highlights a strong suitability of a Nutrient Trading Program in Selwyn District. Legal, economic and social conditions all appear to be favourable. While the biophysical and political conditions of the district highlight some potential challenges, it is reasonable to believe that they can be effectively addressed prior to a Nutrient Trading Programs implementation. Recommendations are provided to direct these efforts.... [Show full abstract]