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Waikato region

River Quality

Water quality is monitored at 110 sites around the Waikato region. These are fairly evenly distributed across the region and cover the region’s five major rivers: the Waikato, the Mokau (and Awakino), the Tongariro, the Waihou (and Piako) and the Waipa.

Waikato Regional Council monitors water quality at 10 sites along the Waikato River, the largest, most intensively used river in the region.

It also monitors water quality at another 100 sites on other rivers around the region, including the Waipa, Mokau, Awakino Waihou, Piako and Tongariro.

Water quality is better in some parts of the region, for example the Coromandel Peninsula and the catchment of Lake Taupo, than in others such as the lowland Waikato basin and the Hauraki Plains. This is mainly because of the greater intensity of land use in the lowland parts of the region. 

Water quality tends to be poorest in areas of intensive farming, including the extensive areas of dairy farming for which the region is known.

River water quality varies from excellent to poor, and in less developed parts of the region conditions are excellent and there have been few signs of deterioration. But water quality is poorer in intensively farmed areas and concentrations of nitrogen have steadily increased over the past two decades of monitoring.

During summer, some freshwater bathing sites are monitored on a weekly basis.  

Catchments 26 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
Disclaimer

 LAWA Partners shall not be liable, whether in contract, tort, equity or otherwise, for any loss or damage of any type (including consequential losses) arising directly or indirectly from the inadequacy, inaccuracy or any other deficiency in information supplied irrespective of the cause.  Use of information supplied is entirely at the risk of the recipient and shall be deemed to be acceptance of this liability exclusion.