Water Quality

Latest news

A combination of artificial intelligence and scientific ingenuity looks set to be the next step forward in protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s lakes and rivers from invasive aquatic weeds.
Environmental monitoring technician Patrick Butler has spent hours travelling between the upper and lower reaches of Canterbury’s Waimakariri and Hurunui Rivers. His mission – river water quality sampling.
How much is too much? Susan Pepperell looks at some of the tough decisions looming around access to freshwater and how science is helping with solutions.
A new study has identified seven freshwater species native to Aotearoa-New Zealand that will likely be highly or very highly vulnerable to climate change.

Our work

New Zealand’s freshwater and estuarine resources provide significant cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits. Competition for the use of these resources is intensifying, and many rivers, lakes and estuaries are now degraded.
Maniapoto Māori Trust Board and NIWA worked collaboratively during 2018-19 to support Ngāti Maniapoto whānau to reconnect with and participate in the assessment of their freshwater according to their values.
Eutrophication occurs when nutrients in streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries cause excessive growth of aquatic plants and algae (primary producers).
Many of New Zealand's aquatic ecosystems, and their services, are in a degraded and often worsening state. NIWA is involved in research and consultation' aimed at improving the health of our freshwater systems.

Latest videos

SHMAK Habitat - Rubbish
The SHMAK method for rubbish involves collecting and identifying all the rubbish (litter) in the stream and on the stream banks.
SHMAK Habitat – Visual Habitat Assessment
The SHMAK visual habitat assessment gives your stream a score that you can use to assess changes over time or compare streams.
SHMAK Habitat – Streambed Composition
Two methods for describing streambed composition: the visual assessment method is quicker while the Wolman walk is more accurate.
SHMAK Stream Life – How to Sort and Identify your Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sample
Use an ice-cream tray to isolate and separate your invertebrates. The Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Guide helps you with identification.

Biological Heritage and NIWA’s role

NIWA is a key contributor to the National Science Challenge on Biological Heritage hosted by Landcare Research. The challenge is to “Reverse the decline of New Zealand’s biological heritage, through a national partnership to deliver a step change in research innovation, globally leading technologies and community and sector action” and covers both terrestrial and freshwater environments.

A new online survey is forming the basis of the National Riparian Restoration Database, which will help scientists to improve understanding of how riparian buffers benefit waterways.

NIWA has developed a smart addition to its suite of tools assisting in the planning, regulation and evaluation of water use.
Since the end of June, a barge has been stationed just off Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula drilling into the seabed to find an alternative water source for the city.
A sophisticated buoy has been deployed in Wellington Harbour to “phone home” information about currents, waves and water quality in the harbour.
NIWA RIPARIAN SURVEY VIDEO
NIWA, supported by DairyNZ, are asking anyone who has planted along stream banks to take a short survey.
NIWA is undertaking a five-year nationwide study to find out how different approaches to riparian planting influence water quality improvements and to provide better guidance to the people and groups undertaking stream restoration.

Compound Specific Stable Isotope tracing of sediment sources - tools to manage a sticky problem in New Zealand’s freshwaters and estuaries

Fine sediment is New Zealand’s most widespread water contaminant, degrading ecosystems, infilling dams and reservoirs and impairing recreational, cultural and aesthetic values in our rivers, estuaries and coastal seas.
A buoy with the ability to “phone home” has been deployed in Wellington Harbour today to monitor currents, waves and water quality in the harbour.
There’s another way of measuring the health of rivers – the health of invertebrate populations that need them, says John Quinn, NIWA Chief Scientist, Freshwater and Estuaries.
Erica Williams' story starts with the website of Moerewa School, where pupil Tyra-Lee explains her connection to a very special place in her small Far North town.
The government has released the ‘Clean Water’ package of proposed reforms, aimed at making more of our rivers swimmable. But how is ‘swimmable’ to be measured, and do these measures stack up?
The Love Bugs

Mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies are living in a stream near you, or at least they should be!

Returning water to our waterways after we’ve used it in our homes, on farms and in industry is a complex and challenging process.
NIWA's Freshwater and Estuaries Chief Scientist Dr John Quinn believes the dairy industry has been responsive in the tools it has adopted to reduce its impact on waterways.
NIWA discusses, in depth, this year's most asked question—what is happening to our fresh waterways?

NIWA is doing a nationwide study to discover what makes the best riparian projects. Help us give you the knowledge to make the best riparian management decisions possible by taking our 5 minute survey.

NIWA provides technical background information on "Clean Water" swimmability proposals.

New Zealand’s freshwater and estuarine resources provide significant cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits. Competition for the use of these resources is intensifying, and many rivers, lakes and estuaries are now degraded.
The tools available for restoring kōura to lakes and streams depend on what is causing kōura to decline.
First, determine if kōura should be present in your stream.

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All staff working on this subject

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Principal Technician - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
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Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
Principal Scientist - Catchment Processes
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Riparian and Wetland Scientist
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Hydrological Modeller
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Land and Water Scientist
Wastewater Scientist
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
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Water Quality Scientist
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Hydrology Scientist
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Environmental Monitoring Technician
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Coastal Technician
Environmental Monitoring Technician
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Catchment Modeller
Resource Management Scientist
Regional Manager - Auckland
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Environmental Scientist
Maori Organisational Development Manager
Algal Ecologist
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Principal Technician - Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
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