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Southland region

Surface Water Zone: Lower Oreti Surface Water Zone

The Lower Oreti surface water zone stretches from Ram Hill, near Josephville, to the New River Estuary, adjacent to Invercargill. Below Kauana, the river opens onto the vast Southland Plains which the Oreti River has helped create over thousands of years through transportation of gravels from upper reaches. In the top half of the Lower Oreti zone, above Centre Bush, the Oreti River is braided in many reaches but is generally a single thread channel from Winton down to the New River Estuary. The tidal influence extends several kilometres up the Oreti mainstem, to just below the Iron Bridge on the Riverton-Wallacetown Highway.

The Lower Oreti surface water zone provides many recreational opportunities all year round. In the lower reaches of the Oreti, swimming and recreational boating is very popular, along with sporting events such as rowing regattas and speed boat racing. Whitebaiting is also actively undertaken in the tidal reaches of this zone. Throughout the Lower Oreti, the streams and rivers are well known for their excellent brown trout fishing. In early winter, the riverine habitat and wetlands of the Lower Oreti zone provide great opportunities for duck hunters to stalk wily mallards. The Oreti River has a permanent water level recorder at Wallacetown that provides Environment Southland with important flow regime information at a catchment scale. A floodwarning site is also installed at Centre Bush to provide downstream land-users of potential flooding events. The Waikiwi Stream at Ferry Road water level recorder helps to monitor the level of the Taramoa ponding area, which is prone to flooding in larger flood events. The Winton Stream has a water level recorder for floodwarning purposes at the Winton Dam where there is also an automatic raingauge. For Southland, the Lower Oreti surface water zone has a reasonable level of surface water allocation occurring from it. Invercargill city sources its drinking water from the lower Oreti River at Branxholme, as does Bluff. Hence, most of the allocated water is for municipal and also industrial purposes.

Water Use
Surface Water in this Zone

Regional councils collect information about how much water is available and manage resource consents for those wishing to take water from rivers and streams. Use the buttons below to view information on: how much water is available, where it comes from and how its used.


Rainfall {{waterAvailable.rainfall}} Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}} Surface Water available: {{waterSource.availableToAllocate}} Irrigation
Town supply
  • How much surface water is there in this zone?

    Rainfall and flow in this surface water zone

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    Rainfall and runoff

    Relative breakdown Source Volume
    Rainfall total:
    {{waterAvailable.rainfall }}
    rainfall Rainfall Total {{waterAvailable.rainfall}}
    Runoff total:
    {{waterAvailable.runoff }}
    runoff Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}}

    The table above shows the average amount of rainfall the water management zone receives each year and how much of that flows out to sea. These are approximate figures only.

  • Water consents: How much water is consented and used?

    Surface water available to consent

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    Consented water in this surface water zone

    Use the tables below to look at how much water is available compared with how much is actually consented within this water management zone. Click the plus to expand subzones where available

    Comparing consents and use
    Amount available to consent In this surface water management zone:
    {{}} {{}}
    available to consent
    Amount consented
    measured and non measured
    Amount used (measured)
    Amount Units Consented or used as a percentage of available
    Total available to consent {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total consented {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total consented and measured {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total measured amount used {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total measured volume used {{}} {{}}

    The table above shows the amount of water that is available for use compared to the amount that has been consented. The ‘Total Consented’ and ‘Total Consented and Measured’ fields are based on percentages of the ‘Total available to Consent’ field. If this field is not populated no data will be displayed. Some consents require actual use to be monitored and this is presented as 'Total measured volume Used' where available.

  • Water consents: How is consented water used?

    Consents by use in this surface water zone

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    Consented water

    Overall annual volume for {{waterAvailable.year}}
    Relative breakdown
    Activity Percentage of total consented Total volume Number of consents
    {{item.displayText}} {{item.displayText}} - - No data available {{item.breakdownPercentage}}% {{item.totalVolume}} m3 {{item.numberOfConsents}}
    Total {{}}% {{}} m3 {{}}

    The above table shows the proportion of water consented for irrigation, industrial, stock, town supply and other. It excludes hydro electricity. In this region/management zone {{hydroUsage.totalVolume}} m3/year is consented for hydro-electricity and makes up {{hydroUsage.percentageConsented}}% of the total water volume consented for this region/management zone


Monitored sites in this Zone

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