The first step of LAWPRO’s work in a PAA, is to improve the scientific understanding by gathering and collating all relevant and available data into a Desktop Study Report. This ensures we can focus on the issues that are significantly affecting water quality and the mitigation actions that should prioritised.
The Desktop Study report for a PAA tells us about:
- Water quality – how water quality has changed over the past 3-6 years and what are the significant water quality issues (e.g. excessive nutrients (ortho-phosphate or nitrate), excessive sediment, organic pollution, poor ecological conditions etc) for the PAA.
- Importance of waters in the PAA – for example, if water is used for drinking water, aquaculture production, or bathing area and if there are any rare plants or animals here that we need to protect.
- Connectivity – how the geological features of the landscape influence how water and pollutants flow and are connected across the catchment
- Impacts from human activities – here we focus on impacts that damage water quality such as wastewater treatment, agriculture, forestry, physical changes to the water.