Water Quality

Latest news

At the bottom of our lakes are NIWA divers with waterproof clipboards. Sarah Fraser jumps in to find out what they’re doing.
The latest state of the environment report released today provides New Zealanders with clear evidence that our climate, freshwater and marine systems are changing, says NIWA.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable 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.

Our work

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.

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. Māori are particularly sensitive to the use and development of freshwater, and hold distinct perspectives concerning their identity, knowledge, and custodial obligations to manage tribal waters.

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.

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.
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. Māori are particularly sensitive to the use and development of freshwater, and hold distinct perspectives concerning their identity, knowledge, and custodial obligations to manage tribal waters.

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.
Identifying the factors causing kōura numbers to decline will allow you to determine which restoration tools you need to employ.
Habitat degradation and the introduction of exotic plant and fish species have adversely affected kōura populations throughout New Zealand. However, there are a number of measures that we can use to restore kōura populations in lakes, rivers and streams.
New research has revealed that citizen science monitoring of water is a win-win for scientists and volunteers—one gains access to new data, and the other the skills and confidence to become involved in discussions over what is happening to their streams.
At a rough count, 700 million litres of rain runs off the nation’s roads every year. That’s enough water to fill almost 300 Olympic-sized pools.
A NIWA study has shown that environmental factors influence the level of mercury in fish and other organisms in lakes in New Zealand's North Island geothermal area

Pages

 

All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
placeholder image
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
Principal Scientist - Catchment Processes
placeholder image
Riparian and Wetland Scientist
placeholder image
Land and Water Scientist
Wastewater Scientist
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
placeholder image
Hydrology Scientist
placeholder image
Environmental Monitoring Technician
placeholder image
Coastal Technician
Environmental Monitoring Technician
placeholder image
Catchment Modeller
Resource Management Scientist
Regional Manager - Auckland
placeholder image
Environmental Scientist
Environmental Research/Science Communication
Algal Ecologist
placeholder image
Principal Technician - Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
Subscribe to RSS - Water Quality