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The Kaikoura zone is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Kaikoura ranges, covering a total area of 31972 km2. The area has a mild maritime climate and high sunshine hours with an average annual rainfall of that ranges from 1750mm in the headwaters to 844 mm by the coast. The upper catchments are mostly alpine rock and gravel with a mixture of native and exotic scrubland. Lowland areas are under stronger landuse pressures and are a mixture of low and high producing grassland, with dairying and beef farming being the predominant landuse activities.

As with many areas in New Zealand, increasing pressure is being placed on our water resources by intensifying land-use and increased demand for rights to take water for uses including irrigation and urbanisation, particularly in lowland areas.

The best water quality is in the upper reaches of rivers where there has been less change to the catchment and less human activity; consequently there is low level nutrient enrichment. The poorest water quality is found closer to the coast where the waterway is under pressure from land-use activities. Intensive agriculture in this area means higher nutrient concentrations, high bacteria concentrations and poor ratings for factors that support aquatic life, such as dissolved oxygen.


Sites 5

Monitored sites in the Kaikoura catchment

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