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.
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]

Pest species of fish and plants will need to be controlled or eradicated if they are threatening the success of your restoration project.

If the low abundance of fish in your stream is not related to a reduction in habitat, waterquality, flow or the presence of downstream barriers, it might be due to the inability of juvenile fish to enter the stream.

The known water quality preferences and tolerances (temperature, pH, oxygen, ammonia and turbidity) for common native fish are shown in the table at the bottom of the page.

How may wind energy generation activities influence sediments in waterways?
What are the impacts of geothermal energy generation activities on water temperatures?

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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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