Overall water quality in the headwaters of most rivers and streams is good. However, a range of factors causes the quality to decline as it journeys towards the coast. Natural influences on water quality include changes in climate, soil and landscape while man-made factors include land use and waste discharges. As agriculture has intensified over the past few decades there has been increased deforestation and hill country erosion as well as in the need for more water to be used for irrigation, all of which contribute to changes in water quality.
Rivers, streams and lakes are important for recreation in the Region. Residents and visitors enjoy kayaking, swimming, rafting and fishing. Over summer, Horizons monitors the water quality at many popular swimming spots and the results are available on the Regional Council’s website and automated telephone line.
The Regional Council’s scientists and technologists use both electronic and manual monitoring, sampling and reporting equipment for 65 State of the Environment (SoE) and 57 discharge water quality monitoring sites throughout the region.
Horizons manages increasing pressure on both surface water and groundwater. Farming, towns and industry require consents to take water out of the rivers and any potential contaminants that could impact on the health of our waterways are closely monitored.