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Waipara River

The Waipara River is in the Hurunui-Waiau Zone. It is a small hill-fed river on the northern fringe of the Canterbury Plains and generally has good water quality. Its geological and climatic features set it apart from most other hill-fed rivers in Canterbury. Situated in a warm dry micro-climate, the river is prone to long periods of low flows during summer and autumn that frequently lead to nuisance growths of algae. The presence of limestone and sandstone sediments in parts of the catchment result in waters that are naturally phosphorus enriched.

The Waipara River’s water quality reflects both the influence of local geological features and land-use activities. Tertiary marine sediments in parts of the catchment result in considerably higher conductivity and pH values at all sites compared to other hill-fed rivers in Canterbury. Ammonia-nitrogen concentrations are slightly higher than typically found in hill-fed rivers, because of the naturally high pH of the water. Dissolved nutrient concentrations (DIN and DRP) are generally low. Despite microbial quality being generally good, the presence of grazing stock in the upper reaches of the riverbed increases the risk of water quality declining.

Sites 3

Monitored sites in the Waipara River catchment

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