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Lower Ashley Catchment

The Waipara – Waimakariri zone (WWZ) (including the Ashley river), covers an area of 59 955 km2 and contains two distinct regions, the high country and the lower plains. The area has a temperate climate, characterised by warm, dry summers and cool winters with an average annual rainfall of 4450 mm in the headwaters to 650 mm at the coast. The Waimakariri River is a large braided alpine River, highly valued for several ecological values, aesthetics and recreational activities. Many tributaries run into the Waimakariri as it flows across the plains, such as the Cust, Cam and Kaiapoi Rivers. Smaller rivers in the zone are the Ashley and Waipara further north of the Waimakariri.

Twenty four sites are monitored in the WHZ as part of Environment Canterbury’s state of environment monitoring programme. The sampling sites are representative of a range of land uses and catchment land cover in the WWZ.

Increased demand for water abstraction and intensive landuse pressures are the main pressures on water resources within the WWZ. The best water quality is often observed in the upper reaches of rivers where there has been less degradation and anthropogenic activity. The poorest water quality is typically found at sites the further near the coast where waterways are under pressure from increasing landuse intensification, degradation and urbanisation.

Sites 3

Monitored sites in the Lower Ashley Catchment catchment

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