A freshwater scientist has slammed Hawke's Bay Regional Council about water quality in the region, but the council says it is working to improve water quality.

Mike Joy, senior researcher at Victoria University's Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, shared pictures of the Papanui Stream on Facebook, showing the issues the stream has with algae blooms.

"It is disgusting. If that's an example of Hawke's Bay Regional Council protecting freshwater then they need a kick," he said in an interview with Hawke's Bay Today.

Joy said feedlots upstream were part of the problem.

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"It's just a classic result of that which everybody told them would happen but they [the regional council still allowed it to happen."

Regional council spokesman Iain Maxwell said the Papanui Catchment was one of the priority sub-catchments the council was focusing on with "concerted effort and activity".

It wanted the catchment improved but "the potential sources of our water quality problems are much broader than feedlots".

Freshwater scientist Mike Joy slammed Hawke's Bay Regional Council over freshwater management. Photo / Supplied
Freshwater scientist Mike Joy slammed Hawke's Bay Regional Council over freshwater management. Photo / Supplied

Maxwell said areas like Lake Tūtira, Ahuriri Estuary, Whakakī Lake, Karamū Stream were also a big part of its focus on water quality.

"Of an average 19.4 per cent rate increase to ratepayers this year, 6.6% of this is focused on partnerships and incentives to change, including farm plans, riparian planting and reforestation."