Freshwater Conditions and Trends
Our review (Davies-Colley et al., 2011) of New Zealand’s long-term river sites highlights the stability of the National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN) operations and the value of that stability for tracking condition over time (trends) in the nation’s waters. It also highlights the value of constantly striving to improve data quality and of ‘integrating’ different attributes of water monitoring (notably benthic bio-monitoring integrated with water quality, sediment and flow data). The NRWQN provides a ‘model’ for regional council water monitoring for SoE reporting, and has been used to underpin recommendations in the associated NEMaR project.
Our recent assessments of water quality in New Zealand have indicated degraded water quality in the 40 % of the country’s area under pasture.
Trend analysis (Ballantine & Davies-Colley, 2013) of the NRWQN data (and regional council data) also shows increasing nutrient concentrations, mainly from pastoral intensification.