Monitored sites in the Waikato River catchment
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The dominant underlying geology is a mixture of tephra, pumice, alluvial and greywacke. Several aspects of the river’s water quality are considered to be excellent for sustaining aquatic life (e.g. dissolved oxygen, total ammonia, pH).
Other aspects are good or better in the upper river and the hydro-lakes, but are poorer further downstream (e.g. clarity, e. coli and nitrogen)—although even then, conditions are generally better than in rivers in many other developed countries. However, concentrations of geothermal contaminants tend to be close to ecological guideline values in the upper river, but further downstream they are diluted somewhat (e.g. arsenic and boron).
Over the past 20 years there have been both improvements and deteriorations in water quality throughout the river. Continued improvements in wastewater treatment have meant that concentrations of some contaminants have declined (e.g. total ammonia and BOD). But at the same time, concentrations of nitrogen in the river have slowly increased, reflecting the ongoing increases in the many tributaries that drain areas of farmland.
At present, the main cause of concern about the water quality of the Waikato River over the next few decades is the prediction that increasing loads of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the river from larger and more intensively-used areas of farmland will increase the risk of harmful algal blooms occurring in the river.
Waikato Regional Council and Waikato and Waipa River iwi are partners on Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai. This project worked with stakeholders to develop changes to the Regional Plan to help restore and protect the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers. The plan change will help to reduce sediment, bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorus entering water bodies, including groundwater, in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments. More information is available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/healthyrivers.
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This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils for water quality indicators, analysed as
The state for the catchment is represented by theconcentration for the across all sites within the catchment and then compares that value to the for all monitored sites in New Zealand.
Click on the parameters state icons to compare this catchment with others in the region.
State shows how theof samples from this site compares to other sites
Trend shows how the quality of water is changing over time. Depending on the sampling history duration, five and ten year timescales are available:
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.
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.
All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories.
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.
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