Water Resources Archive: the backbone

Help us build a better niwa.co.nz for you by filling out our annual survey

Water Resources Archive: the backbone 

The Water Resources Archive, managed by NIWA, provides the backbone for many water resource management decisions. Data are used in many studies with direct economic benefit, such as the operation of hydropower facilities, resource investigation of alternative energy sources, and mitigation and preparedness for climate extremes such as floods and droughts.

The Water Resources Archive comprises the National Hydrometric and the National River Water Quality networks and databases. Combined with the National Climate network and database, they are an officially designated ‘Nationally Significant Database’, funded by the Foundation for Research, Science & Technology and a range of other organisations, notably electricity generators and local councils.

NIWA scientist Roddy Henderson recently became the database programme leader. He says, “Archives don’t sound sexy but high quality, long-term environmental datasets are fundamental for good resource management, model validation, and research. Without them, many decisions would be made in a vacuum.”

During the 2006/07 financial year, NIWA serviced about 68 000 requests for data from the archive. We recently reviewed the quality assurance procedures for the National River Water Quality Network, and we are continuing to upgrade the telemetry systems for the National Hydrometric Network, allowing reliable real-time dissemination of river level data from source to user.