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Southland region

Surface Water Zone: Waihopai Surface Water Zone

The Waihopai surface water zone covers the entire Waihopai River catchment and also the coastline stretching from west of the Fortrose Estuary to the Waihopai Arm of the New River Estuary in Invercargill. The Waihopai River originates in the gently rolling hills above the lower Mataura River valley, to the north of Morton Mains, before flowing west – south west for 30 km. The Waihopai River and its major tributary Spurhead Creek drain intensively farmed land.

The Waihopai River and its tributaries have been greatly modified over the years. Formerly a sinuous stream that meandered across its floodplain, the Waihopai now flows through straightened channels and is constrained between flood banks, especially in its lower reaches. A flood retention dam has also been built on the outskirts of Invercargill city to hold back large flow events from flooding low lying urban and industrial surrounds. Original land cover in the Waihopai catchment undoubtedly consisted of large wetland and bog areas with large expanses of native bush as well. This has largely been drained and cleared to produce the productive farm land seen today. Apart from the Waihopai River catchment itself, a large tract of the Waihopai surface water zone is basically an unmodified wetland area. This includes the internationally significant Waituna wetlands on the Awarua Plains. There are a number of small streams that drain the Waihopai zone. Two of these creeks, the Otepuni and Kingswell, flow through Invercargill city and have historically caused flood damage to the city’s infrastructure and residential property. Both creeks now are largely contained by major flood protection works including flood retention dams on the Invercargill city eastern boundary. Environment Southland has six permanent water level and three automatic rainfall recording sites. These sites provide flood-warning information and also other important hydrological information. There are currently low levels of surface water allocation in the Waihopai surface water zone.

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

...retrieving sites.

No sites found.