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.

Welcome to Freshwater Update.

Here we bring you a review and outlook of New Zealand's freshwater resources, seasonal water quality information and news of our latest freshwater research. 

As well as the articles in this update, the following have been posted to our website:

Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems 

July's FWU includes water quality maps and information. 

Retrospective river flows, July to September 2011

What we predicted for July 2011 to September 2011

River flows are likely to be normal in the North Island and north of the South Island, and normal or below normal in the rest of the South Island. 

What actually happened during July 2011 to September 2011

River flows were normal to below normal for most of the country, with some above normal river flows in the eastern North Island, eastern Southland and coastal Otago. 

 

Cover habitat for fish can be riparian (i.e. over the stream) or instream (e.g. wood debris or boulders).

Changes to water flow regimes can affect fish in several ways.

Fish species have varying habitat requirements. If a habitat requirement is not present, the species that rely on it will not be abundant in your stream.

A problem with recruitment is usually indicated by the absence, or very low density, of fish where they would normally be present.
Fish species thrive in a variety of different habitats.

The environmental effects of developing land and water for human use have decimated New Zealand's native fish fauna, but we now have the knowledge to reverse this trend and restore native fish in streams. 

NIWA develops and applies a range of water quality models.

WaterMicro 2011, 18 - 23 September 2011

18 September 2011 to 23 September 2011

NIWA is sponsoring the Health Related Water Microbiology workshop.

The workshop will be held in Rotorua and will cover topics including:

Water pollution and diseases, microbial source tracking, catchment protection, biofilm studies, water and sanitation in developing country, climate change and water quality, recreational water and health, epidemiology of waterborne diseases, microbial risk assessment, microbial quality of shellfish growing areas, applications of nanotechnology, water and energy and, zoonoses. 

DipCon 2011

18 September 2011 to 23 September 2011

NIWA sponsored the 15th International Conference of the IWA Diffuse Pollution Specialist Group on: Diffuse Pollution and Eutrophication. 

Exotic aquatic plants, introduced to New Zealand for the aquarium and ornamental pond trade, are silently invading our waterways, but new research by NIWA scientists is helping to lower this risk by finding native alternatives for the trade.

Examples of publications produced from the National Water Quality Network are listed below.

[This list is currently under construction - please check back later]

Pages

 

All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
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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Land and Water Scientist
Wastewater Scientist
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
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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
Environmental Research/Science Communication
Algal Ecologist
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Principal Technician - Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
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