Forest & Bird is urging New Zealanders to support an application by local Māori for a Water Conservation Order over Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay.
According to the Department of Conservation, the springs are the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured.
Forest & Bird regional manager Debs Martin says most people would be surprised to hear that the springs are under threat.
“There have been mining applications in the catchment and the Tasman District Council is proposing to increase the area of irrigated land, despite knowing that will increase nitrates in the aquifers beneath the springs.”
And she says the springs are already at their ecological limits.
The application for a Water Conservation Order was made by Ngāti Tama Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Golden Bay resident Andrew Yuill.
The public can make submissions up until February 28 and a Special Tribunal will consider the matter at a public hearing in April.