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Awatere River

The headwaters of the Awatere River drain the most mountainous area of Marlborough, the alpine region of the Inland Kaikouras. River terraces and steep mudstone bluffs are typical of the mid and lower Awatere River, and the high background suspended sediments are mainly due to erosion of the natural mudstone catchment. Most native vegetation was cleared by burning 150 years ago in the upper and mid reaches of the river to allow for low-density farming and low-density farming still dominates the catchment.

Cropping and small areas of pine plantation occur in the lower reaches. In recent years viticulture has been expanded in the lower reaches. Limited groundwater resources in the catchment, due to the underlying mudstone, means stock water and town water supplies are sourced from the rivers and streams, mainly from the Black Birch subcatchment. Water taken for irrigation from the Awatere, through the use of instream infiltration galleries located either adjacent to the main channel or under the river bed, has led to increasing pressure on the river. The high levels of suspended sediment in the river create unduly high ongoing maintenance issues with the galleries.

Sites 3

Monitored sites in the Awatere River catchment

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