Waikato University hosts major water conference

4 November 2014

It was “perfect timing” for the University of Waikato to host this week a major conference and workshop dedicated to water quality and improvement, one of its organisers says.

Biological sciences Professor David Hamilton holds the inaugural Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Lakes Management and Restoration, leads the Water Quality Group for LERNZ (Lake Ecosystem Restoration New Zealand) and is one of the organisers of 21st Century Watershed Technology Conference and Workshop - Improving Water Quality and the Environment, which began on Saturday and runs until Thursday.

Nutrients in our waterways

Professor Hamilton says the conference is considering the sources of nutrients in our waterways, what can be done to mitigate their impact and what modelling tools can help that process.

“It’s perfect for us at the moment, there is huge interest in this,” he says.

“Rather than trial different systems, we can use models to assist farmers striving for the best management practices on their land. There is huge pressure on these types of models to meet water quality limits.”

Aside from Professor Hamilton, other University water experts feature at the conference and they are joined by experts from NIWA, Ag Research, the Ministry for the Environment and other key University of Waikato staff.

Farm and Catchment Solutions

The conference opened with a keynote speech on Monday by Dr Liz Wedderburn from AgResearch, who spoke on "Farm and Catchment Solutions to nutrient loss entering New Zealand waterways".

The conference has attracted speakers from many international institutions and organisations, including the French School of Public Health, Korea’s Konkuk University, the University of Adelaide, University of Michigan, Indian Institute of Technology Roorke, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, South Africa’s Mangosuthu University of Technology and Clemson University of South Carolina.

It is the fourth conference of its type to be organised by the University of Waikato and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, with earlier ones in Chile, Costa Rica and Italy.

Along with workshops and presentations, the conference also includes field trips to Rotorua and Whatawhata on Thursday.

More information and the conference programme can be found at

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