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Rangitata River

The Rangitata River is located in the Environment Canterbury Ashburton water management zone. The total size of the river catchment is 1,773 km2. The river is formed by the confluence of the Clyde and Havelock rivers, which rise in the Southern Alps. The river passes through the Rangitata Gorge in the Alpine foothills, and flows southeast for 121 kilometres, entering Canterbury Bight 64 kilometres northeast of Timaru. 

The Maori name "Rangitata" (Rakitata) has been variously translated as "day of lowering clouds", "close sky", and "the side of the sky. 

Before the Rangitata crosses the plains, part of it is diverted to the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) for irrigation and hydroelectric generation with eventual discharge into the Rakaia River. Towards its mouth, the river splits into two large braids, forming a large delta island called Rangitata Island. This island is crossed by State Highway 1 and the Main South Line railway between Ealing and Rangitata. The Rangitata River has a celebrated Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) fishery, it is also highly valued for it's recreational (e.g. jet boating and kayaking), aesthetic and ecological values. On 23 December 1999 Fish and Game New Zealand lodged an application for a water conservation order on the Rangitata River. In June 2006, the water conservation order was gazetted.

Nine sites on the Rangitata and tributary streams are monitored in the Environment Canterbury state of environment monitoring programme. Sampling site locations are representative of a range of land uses and catchment land cover in the Rangitata River catchment. Water quality data indicates that the river demonstrates low nutrient concentrations in the upper catchment that become increasingly impacted from point and non-point source contaminants further downstream.

Sites 8

Monitored sites in the Rangitata River 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
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Total Oxidised Nitrogen
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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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