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Environmental Monitoring and Research

Greater Wellington monitors the quality and quantity of the region's air, land and water resources over time. We carry out long-term monitoring across the region, as well as short-term research and investigations where information gaps or potential problems are identified.

Data that are collected from our monitoring sites are logged on a regular basis (usually every 5 or 10 minutes) and then uploaded to our database via telemetry (radio or cell phone transmission) every 2 to 3 hours. This is ‘raw data’ because it has not been through our quality checks. Once it has been checked it is moved to a secure archive and is referred to as ‘archived data’.

The data on this website is a combination of archived and raw data, with the archived data being shown in black and the raw data being shown in red. This ensures that the data we are providing is as accurate and up to date as possible. Should you require further information please contact us.

Land and Soil

Greater Wellington operates a network of soil temperature and soil moisture monitoring stations as well as soil quality at 118 sites throughout the region. The information collected is important for floodwarning (assessing soil moisture levels for flood models), water management during droughts, and detecting long-term trends in our environment.

The soil quality sites are situated on high quality soils in the region, and under a range of land uses including dairy, market gardens, cropping, drystock, horticulture, exotic forest and native forest. The sites are re-sampled every 3-10 years depending on their land use. Soil samples are analysed for a range of chemical, biological and physical soil properties, which gives important information on the overall health of the soil, and any potential impacts land uses may be having on soil quality in the region.

River and stream health

We measure river and stream water quality and ecosystem health at 55 sites around the region. At monthly intervals we measure a range of variables, such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, clarity, turbidity, suspended solids, nutrients and E. coli bacteria.

We also carry out annual biological monitoring of the invertebrate animal and algal communities, as a measure of both water quality and stream health.

We also monitor water quality at popular river swimming spots during the summer months.

Check out our environmental reports for more information.

River levels and flows

We measure river/stream flows and levels at 45 sites throughout the region. Water levels are monitored continuously at all stations and water temperature is monitored at selected sites. The data are logged on a regular basis (usually every 15 minutes) and then uploaded to our database via radio or cell phone transmission every 2 to 3 hours.

The data we provide for this website is a combination of raw (unchecked) and archived (checked) data. The archived data is shown in black and the raw data is shown in red. If you require the information in a form other than how it is presented here, please contact us and we can usually provide it within two working days.

Every quarter we publish summaries of the information collected to give a general picture of recent trends.

River and rainfall levels are also available on Hydroline, which are voice mail boxes updated hourly (calls cost 12 cents per minute) - Hutt Valley  08 322 0170, Kapiti Coast 08 322 0150, Wellington/Porirua 08 322 0190, Wainuiomata/Orongorongo 08 322 0650, Wairarapa rivers 08 322 0669 or Wairarapa rainfall and lakes 08 322 9069.

Groundwater quality

We monitor groundwater quality four times a year at 71 sites throughout the region. We measure a range of variables (including nutrients, trace elements and E. coli bacteria) to determine if the groundwater is suitable for drinking or other uses.

Check out our environmental reports for more information.

Groundwater levels

We measure groundwater levels at 146 sites across the region. Water levels at some of these sites are monitored continuously with the data logged on a regular basis (usually every 15 minutes) and then uploaded to our database via radio or cell phone transmission every 2 to 3 hours.

Lake water quality and ecology

Water quality is routinely monitored in Lake Wairarapa and Lake Onoke by measuring a range of variables such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, turbidity, suspended solids, nutrients and algae.

We have also carried out investigations into water quality and ecological condition of Lake Waitawa (Kapiti Coast), Lake Pounui (South Wairarapa) and the Parangarahu Lakes (Pencarrow Head).

Lake levels

We monitor lake levels at 5 sites across the region. 

Wetlands

Greater Wellington monitors wetland level at several sites across the region. The information collected is vital for water management during drought periods, and detecting long-term trends.

Coastal quality and ecology

We monitor the health of Wellington and Porirua harbours, selected estuaries and sandy beaches. Our monitoring focuses on sediment health as a primary indicator of condition – we measure sediment properties and levels of nutrients and heavy metals. We also identify and count the invertebrate animals living in the sediments as an indicator of environmental health.

Coastal water tides and temperatures

Greater Wellington measures tide levels and sea temperatures in Wellington and Porirua Harbours.

Compliance Flows Summary

The table below lists waterways where water take restrictions may be in place.

Monitored Site Compliance Flow Threshold Compliance Flow Value
effective for 24 hrs starting at
9:00am 31 Aug 2015
Water Take Status
Booths Creek at Andersons Line 10 l/s 112 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Horokiri Stream at Snodgrass 70 l/s 1072 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Hutt River at Birchville 1450 l/s 24833 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Kopuaranga at Palmers Bridge 270 l/s 993 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Mangaone Stream at Ratanui 50 l/s 689 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Mangatarere River at Gorge 330 l/s 2156 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Otaki River at Pukehinau 2550 l/s 57758 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Otakura Stream at Weir 95 l/s 529 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Pahaoa River at Hinakura 80 l/s 3952 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Papawai Stream at Fabians Road 200 l/s 489 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Papawai Stream at U/S Oxi Pond Confl 200 l/s 593 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Parkvale Stream at Renalls Weir 150 l/s 1031 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Pauatahanui Stream at Gorge 85 l/s 1040 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Ruamahanga River at Waihenga Bridge 9800 l/s 68238 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Ruamahanga River at Wardells 2700 l/s 26407 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Taueru River at Te Whiti Rd Bridge 250 l/s 2152 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Tauherenikau at Gorge 1350 l/s 7584 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Waikanae River at Water Treatment Plant 750 l/s 8636 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Waingawa River at Kaituna 1900 l/s 15325 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Wainuiomata River at Leonard Wood Park 360 l/s 2085 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Waiohine River at Gorge 3040 l/s 33422 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Waipoua River at Mikimiki Bridge 300 l/s 2234 l/s No water take restrictions in place
Whangaehu River at Waihi 18 l/s 187 l/s No water take restrictions in place