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Taranaki region

River Quality

The Taranaki region, with its distinctive Mount Taranaki and black sand beaches, lies on the west coast of the North Island. The land area of 7,200 square kilometres represents 3% of New Zealand and its growing population of around 110,00 is approximately 2.5% of the country’s population.

Taranaki’s generally high-quality environment and strong economy, based on the region’s natural and physical resources, contribute to its attractive lifestyle.

The main landforms are the volcanic ring plain centred on Mount Taranaki, the hill country to the east of the ring plain, the coastal terraces and the coastal and marine environment. About 60% of the region is used for intensive farming, predominantly dairying.

There are around 530 named rivers and streams in the region. More than 300 waterways flow across the ring plain from Mount Taranaki and are typically short, small and fast-flowing.

The region’s communities, industries and farmers continue to make major investments to protect and enhance Taranaki’s freshwater resources. The last single-point discharge causing substantial freshwater pollution in Taranaki was removed in 2010. There is a move to land-based disposal of farm dairy effluent as existing consents are renewed. And almost 14,500 kilometres of streambanks are covered by riparian plans, with 85% protected by fencing and 70% with riparian vegetation, at June 2017.

The Taranaki Regional Council measures up to 22 parameters at 13 river and stream sites to assess physical and chemical water quality. Ecological health is measured at 59 sites on 25 rivers and streams. And recreational water quality is measured at 17 popular swimming spots over a three-year cycle. Wildfowl and gulls are the major source of contamination at the three sites that often exceed bathing water guidelines.

Generally, water quality is poorest in lowland urban catchments, better in lowland rural catchments and best in upland forested catchments. In overview, however, the Council’s monitoring shows that water quality measures are either essentially stable or improving, and an ever-increasing number are improving.

TRC conducts flow-adjusted water quality trend analysis based on NIWA protocols and guidelines (following Scarsbrook and McBride 2007). This information is available at https://www.trc.govt.nz/healthy-waterways-report-2016/

Catchments 22 Scientific Indicators
Scientific data for this region

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 region is represented by the median concentration for the parameter across all sites within the region and then compares that value to the quartiles for all monitored sites in New Zealand.

Click on the parameters state icons to compare this region with others nationally.

  • 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.

State

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.

Bacteria

E. coli
State
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Trend
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Clarity

Clarity

Black disc
State
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Trend
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Clarity

Turbidity
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Total Nitrogen
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Total Oxidised Nitrogen
State
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Trend
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Nitrogen

Ammoniacal Nitrogen
State
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Trend
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Phosphorus

Phosphorus

Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
State
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Trend
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Phosphorus

Total Phosphorus
State
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Trend
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Download Data

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