1 December 1995

Call for drinking water zones:NRA

WATER protection zones could soon be established in drinking water catchment areas to reduce herbicide pollution.

The National Rivers Authority wants to compare the cost of controlling pesticide inputs with the cost of treating drinking water supplies. If controls are cheaper, it believes it will have a strong case to push for such zones.

About 5% of farmland could be affected. Use of specific pesticides could be restricted or prohibited to ensure drinking water sources contain no more than the 1ppb EC limit.

The measure is one of several proposals included in the NRAs report Pesticides in the Aquatic Environment (News, Nov 24) which it wants to develop into a national strategy.

"We see zones as a last resort restricted to high risk areas," said toxic substances manager, David Tester.