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Ashburton River/Hakatere Catchment

The Ashburton River is located in the Environment Canterbury Ashburton water management zone. It is a medium sized gravel bed braided river that flows across the Rakaia and Rangitata River fans. The river flow regime is diverse and typical of glacial fed rivers in the Canterbury region. Its main source of flow is from precipitation and snowmelt in the headwaters with the lowest flows occurring during the late summer, and the highest during springtime. 

The local climate is temperate and characterised by hot dry summers and cool winters. Average rainfall ranges from over 3000mm to 738 mm. The upper catchment is mostly characterised by alpine rock and gravel, covered in dry grassland/tussock with low intensity landuse activities. Further toward the coast, the lower plains are under moderate-to-high landuse pressures from such activities as pastoral beef and sheep, dairying, cropping, urban and industry.

Seven sites are monitored on the Ashburton River as part of Environment Canterbury’s state of environment monitoring programme. The sampling site locations are representative of a range of land uses and catchment land covered in the Ashburton Zone. The river demonstrates low nutrient concentrations in the upper catchment, then becoming increasingly impacted from point and non-point source contaminants further downstream.

Increased demand for water and the effects from increasing agricultural activities are putting pressure on the Ashburton lowland water quality and aquatic ecosystems. The best water quality is often observed in the upper reaches where there has been little degradation and anthropogenic activity. The poorest water quality is typically found at sites closest to the coast where the river has been under pressure over the years from increasing landuse intensification, degradation and urbanisation.

Sites 9

Monitored sites in the Ashburton River/Hakatere Catchment catchment

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Scientific Indicators
Scientific data for this catchment

This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils for water quality indicators, analysed as state and trend.

The state for the catchment is represented by the median concentration for the parameter across all sites within the catchment and then compares that value to the quartiles for all monitored sites in New Zealand.

Click on the parameters state icons to compare this catchment with others in the region.

  • State

    State shows how the median of samples from this site compares to other sites

  • Trend

    Trend shows how the quality of water is changing over time. Depending on the sampling history duration, five and ten year timescales are available:

Can I trust this data?

The Cawthron Institute has worked alongside regional councils to verify the processes and methods used for data collection, laboratory analysis of samples collected and the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results presented.

If all Cawthron ticks are green, then you can trust this data. However, if one or more ticks are orange, then conclusions should be treated with some caution.

For more details on each tick, see our 'Can I Trust This Data?' Factsheet.

Can I trust the data?
Data Collection

All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories. Therefore the data shown here has been collected and analysed following best practice.

State

All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories. Therefore the data shown here can be trusted.

Trend - Adjustment for flow

This data is not flow adjusted. National guidelines suggest that flow-sensitive variables are flow 'adjusted' before trend analysis. Therefore, any trends shown here may be affected by variations in flow across sampling occasions.

Bacteria

E. coli
State
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Trend
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Clarity

Clarity

Black disc
State
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Trend
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Clarity

Turbidity
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Total Nitrogen
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Total Oxidised Nitrogen
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Ammoniacal Nitrogen
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Trend
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Phosphorus

Phosphorus

Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
State
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Trend
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Phosphorus

Total Phosphorus
State
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Trend
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Download Data

.ZIP file of indicator readings for all sites in New Zealand
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