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Wellington Region

River Quality

The Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) routinely assesses the environmental health of 55 stream and river sites throughout the region, 24 of which are also monitored for recreational suitability.

The rivers and streams in the Wellington Region retain significant recreational and ecological values. The supply of water from these rivers supports surrounding scenic reserves, regional parks and forests which serve as popular sites for swimming and fishing activities, as well as camping, cycling and tramping. Many rivers and streams provide essential spawning areas and principal habitats for native species of plants and animals.

The environmental health of the region’s rivers is monitored on a monthly and yearly basis using a range of techniques. The recreational quality of the rivers is monitored weekly between the months of December and March. The recreational quality may not always be the same as the environmental health of the river.

Over a third of the Wellington Region is native forest or scrubland and agriculture occupies approximately half of the land area, which is made up mainly of sheep and beef farming. Dairying is undertaken in about five percent of the region, and forestry covers eight percent.

Pressures on river and stream water quality in the Wellington region range from specific discharges (mainly town and city wastewater), as well as impacts from intensive land use and urban storm water runoff. In some areas, water taken for drinking or economic activity worsens these impacts.

Overall, water quality in the region is highest at sites located on cool wet, hill-fed river and stream locations. It is generally poorer in lower parts of rivers under native forest cover and poorer again at sites located in farming areas, especially at some sites that drain from dairy farms. Water quality is however at its worst at sites that urban areas drain into.

Catchments 20 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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