They were the subject of a prosecution and submissions to Horizons Regional Council - and their latest monitoring results are very disappointing, Councillor David Cotton says.
The Mōwhanau, Kai Iwi and Ototoka streams each had signs warning against swimming last summer. A submitter to Horizons Regional Council's 2019-20 annual plan asked for improvement of both the Mōwhanau Stream and Lake Wiritoa - which was afflicted by an algal bloom in early summer.
There has been a lot of fencing and planting done on the Mōwhanau Stream, Cotton said. And Whanganui District Council was prosecuted after effluent flowed into it in January 2017, during a power cut.
Its main problem is high levels of the faecal coliform bacteria E. coli, mainly from stock.
"We have still got major issues out there. Some of the latest results that have come through are disappointing," Cotton said.
One of his top priorities for this year is getting a group of local farmers together to tackle the issue. He's been talking to George Matthews and Alistair Cole, from the Landcare Trust, about setting something up.
It will need motivated local people, he said, to take the lead as Mike Cranstone has for the Whangaehu, or Roger Dalrymple for the Rangitīkei.
"It's high on my agenda to get that fired up. You need a couple of passionate local farmers."
During the last month the council has been deciding what it will do in the coming year. There were 57 public submissions, and nine people who wanted to be heard in person.
The hearings took place during council meetings in Palmerston North. The only Whanganui person to make the journey was Stephen Palmer, who wanted better use of Whanganui's bus service.
He made suggestions, and has joined a council group to work for more patronage.
There were six submissions asking for more funding for council-public partnerships to improve water quality. As a result an extra $75,000 will be provided this year, with eight of 12 councillors in favour.
Changes the councillors agreed on have lifted the average rate increase across the region from 4.74 per cent to just over 5 per cent.
Several people wanted more work done on climate change planning, and others wanted more compliance work.
Rangitīkei mayor Andy Watson, and others, asked for more control of the invasive weed old man's beard (Clematis vitalba).
Some criticised the council's collection of $50,000 a year to help Anzac Pde households adapt to flooding. It's a valid criticism, Patrick said, because no action has been decided on.
People can no longer count on flood protection, Cotton said.
"We need to learn to manage and adapt. We can't control these rivers."