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Tasman region

River Quality

The Tasman region has more than 9,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and a coastline stretching for 817 kilometres. This region is also home to Te Waikoropupu Springs, the largest cold water springs and some of the clearest water in the Southern Hemisphere. Clearest of all is Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park which at times achieves over 80m black disc water clarity.

These waterways provide valued places for swimming, boating and other recreation, a home for aquatic plants and animals, a source of food, water for drinking, hydroelectricity, and irrigation for horticulture and agriculture.

Tasman District Council works to ensure all these values are maintained or enhanced and that our district’s resources are used in a sustainable way. The council monitors surface water quality across the district. Surface water quality applies to rivers, streams, lakes, and beaches. In this section you will find information on the health of our surface water resources.

The main threats to water quality are the intensification of agriculture and the growth in population. The council monitors 26 river sites across the district and works with the community and industry to ensure we have a sustainable resource for the future. Some of our rivers and streams have changed dramatically since European settlement. These have been dammed, had water pumped out or diverted, waste discharged into them, or invasive plants introduced. The land draining into these rivers (their catchment area) has been cleared for agriculture, forestry and urban development. These activities all increase the amount of runoff entering rivers and streams.

Many of the district’s rivers and streams are probably in better condition now than they were half a century ago, but they continue to be affected by pollution from a variety of sources, including runoff and leaching from agricultural land, stormwater and industrial discharges.