Nitrogen losses from land
Waikato Regional Council estimates nitrogen leaching and runoff in a representative sample of catchments across the region. This helps us to identify sensitive water bodies at risk of increased nitrogen levels.
This indicator is based on the amounts (loads) of nitrogen getting into our water, either through surface runoff or subsurface runoff (leaching). We calculated it for a wide range of catchments as the area-weighted averages of estimated nitrogen inputs to water.
Our research shows that nitrogen loading into rivers from developed land (non-point sources) in this region is closely related to the average stocking rate of dairy cows (view graph). This is because nitrogen in animal urine moves very easily through the soil and groundwater. This makes it possible to use an area’s dairy cow stocking rate to estimate the nitrogen loading into waterways. The information on nitrogen loading in this indicator has been estimated from each area’s dairy cow stocking rate.
- Nitrogen loading is generally low in the less developed upland areas of the region, such as the area around Lake Taupo.
- In the more developed lowland parts of the Region, nitrogen loading is often moderate to high. Intensive agriculture - both dairy farming and cropping - is the main source of increased nitrogen loading to the region’s water.
- Applying Effluent to the Land
- How Land Use Affects Lake Taupo
- Runoff and Leaching to the Waikato River
- Trends in Water Quality in the Waikato River
- Changes in Nitrogen in the Waikato River
- NZ Fertiliser Manufacturers' Research Association Code of Practice for Nutrient Management
When this indicator is updated
There are no plans to update this indicator at present.
Contact at Waikato Regional Council
Water Quality Scientist - Science and Strategy Directorate