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Water of Leith and Lindsay's Creek

The Water of Leith has a catchment area of 42.1 km2 and
flows into Otago Harbour, Dunedin. It has a course of slightly over 11.6 km. There are numerous tributary streams to the Water of Leith,
including West Branch, Morrison’s, Cedar, Nichol’s and Ross Creeks on the right bank and Cargill, Pine Hill and Lindsay’s Creeks on the left bank. 

Lindsay’s Creek is the principal tributary and has a catchment area of 12.2km2 and has a course of about 6.8km to its junction with the Water of Leith at the Botanic Gardens, roughly 2km upstream from Otago Harbour.

The upper Water of Leith receives over 1000mm rainfall as an annual average, in Dunedin the average annual rainfall is 650mm. In the upper catchments indigenous hardwoods, harvested forest, manuka, kanuka, grassland and pine forest dominate, while in the lower catchment the bottom and side slopes of the valley are urban, including parks and open spaces, and a large surface mine.

Both the Water of Leith and Lindsay’s Creek are very liable, from the character of their catchment areas, to sudden extreme floods. As well as being a source of drinking water for Dunedin, the Water of Leith is a popular trout and salmon fishery. It also has a number of riverbank walkways which are well used by the residents of Dunedin.

Sites 2

Monitored sites in the Water of Leith and Lindsay's Creek 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.


All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories.

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.


E. coli



Black disc





Total Nitrogen


Total Oxidised Nitrogen


Ammoniacal Nitrogen



Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus


Total Phosphorus

Download Data

.ZIP file of indicator readings for all sites in New Zealand

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