Freshwater pollution

NIWA studies marine pollution within the wider scope of its work in the marine environment, with a focus on how it affects ecosystems.

  • Storm water drain

    Urban Runoff Quality Information System (URQIS)

    NIWA's Urban Runoff Quality Information System (URQIS) provides planners, engineers and researchers with information about the quality of stormwater from different locations and landuses and under different flow conditions.
  • Investigating ecological impacts on freshwater insects from LED streetlight conversions

    Research Project
    Many New Zealand cities and towns have switched over to modern LED street lighting. The move will save on operational costs, but little is known what impact artificial streetlights have on flying freshwater insects which are integral to our waterway ecosystems. NIWA investigated the likely impact as part of a four-year MBIE-funded Smart Idea project.
  • NIWA’s Estuarine Trophic Index

    Research Project
    Constructed wetlands, detention bunds, woodchip denitrification filters and planted riparian buffers are examples of a growing suite of edge-of-field and farm-scale mitigation systems that are being trialled across rural New Zealand to reduce the impact of diffuse pollution on freshwater quality
  • Plastic pollution processes in rivers

    Research Project
    Most of the plastic in the ocean originates on land, being carried to the estuaries and coasts by rivers. Managing this plastic on land before it reaches the river could be the key to stemming the tide of marine-bound plastics. The aim of this project is to understand the sources and fate of plastic pollution carried by urban rivers using the Kaiwharawhara Stream as a case study.
  • Reducing sedimentation

    Feature story
    New Zealand is a land of erosion. We’re losing about 192 million tonnes of soil a year, according to the latest report Our Land 2018, from the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ.
  • Sediment

    When soils erode, sediments are washed into waterways.
  • Freshwater monitoring and reporting

    Research Project
    NIWA's research on freshwater monitoring and reporting is one of three research areas within the 'Values, Monitoring and Outcomes' (VMO) programme led by Landcare Research.
  • Ecotoxicology services

    NIWA offers a range of standard toxicity tests for both freshwater and marine environments.
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    What ails our estuaries - problems and solutions

    Estuaries are at the bottom of the freshwater drainage network and, effectively, are a part of it. This means that every time we act to protect and enhance streams and rivers we are also benefiting the estuary at the downstream end.
  • Causes and effects of water quality degradation

    Understanding and predicting the sources of contaminants, developing technologies to clean up the sources, and understanding the consequences of water quality degradation for aquatic ecosystems and human use of waterways.