River water quality monitoring network

Sampling in Manganui River.

We monitor the water quality in our rivers and streams at 36 sites throughout Northland.  These sites are spread over a large area and are typical of streams found in our region. 

Water quality is tested monthly for a range of things like bacteria and nutrients and assessed to see how it stacks up against national water quality standards.  Results are published in our Annual Monitoring Reports as well as every five years in our State of Environment Report. 


Find additional technical reports in our Resource Library.




Lake water quality monitoring network

Northland currently has one of the largest lake water quality monitoring programmes in New Zealand.  Set up in 2005, the programme includes 28 lakes in the Kai Iwi, Aupouri and Pouto lake groups. 

These are sampled every three months to test for a range of things including temperature, nutrients and water clarity.  Lakes are graded using a system which measures the amount of nutrients in the water and gives an indication of a lake’s overall health.

Sampling lake water. 

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) also does ecological monitoring of 83 Northland lakes.  These lakes are ranked according to their ecological value (for instance how many native or endangered plant and animal species they contain, the absence of pest species and how close the lake is to its natural state).

Results from lake monitoring are published in our Annual Monitoring Reports and every five years in the State of Environment Report.

Environmental Monitoring reports are available in our Resource Library. 

Recreational swimming water quality monitoring network

We work with district councils and the Northland Health Board to sample a number of Northland’s popular swimming spots each summer to check water is safe for swimming.  The programme aims to provide information on water quality at popular freshwater and coastal swimming sites in Northland, allowing people to make an informed decision about where it’s safe for them to swim. 

Once problem sites have been identified, the regional and district councils can work together to identify the source of contamination and work towards improving water quality there. 

Find more information about swimming water quality including reports.

Wellingtons Bay.