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  Environment » Environmental Information » Environmental indicators » Rivers and streams: monitoring and reporting » Surface water availability » How we monitor

How we monitor

Where and how we collect the data

Monitoring sites

Information used in this indicator has been compiled from surface water resource consents and estimates of permitted surface water takes in the Waikato region. Check out our map showing the density and distribution of consented surface water takes in our region.

Waikato Regional Council estimated the number of permitted users with a model requiring information on both the number of people and animals in each surface water catchment. Check out the methodology of the model for calculating the ‘permitted’ water use as described for surface water catchments in Technical Report 2007/47.

Monitoring history

Data for this indicator were collected from surface water resource consents and estimates of permitted surface water takes up to 2015.

How this indicator is compiled

Determining the amount of available surface water

The amount of surface water available for use from a waterway is set in the Regional Plan in Table 3-5.  The location of the assessed waterways can be seen here on the water allocation maps.

The percentage of ‘available’ surface water that is allocated for use

We compare a waterways’ amount of ‘available’ surface water with the amount allocated in summer and winter (the maximum that can be used by consented offset by any returned water and permitted takes).   From this we can estimate the level of stress surface water resources are under and how it varies from winter to summer. 

We divide monitored surface water resources in our region into three categories of ‘stress’:

  • Low stress areas have less than 70 percent of available surface water allocated for use.
  • Medium stress areas have between 70 and 99 percent of available surface water allocated for use.
  • High stress areas have 100 percent or more of available surface water allocated for use.

This provides us with a guideline to identify potential problem areas which may need more intensive monitoring.  Most of the monitored surface water areas in our region are under medium to high stress in summer and low stress in winter.

Guidelines and standards

Proposed National Environmental Standard on Ecological Flows and Water Levels – Discussion Document. Ministry for the Environment March 2008.

Waikato Regional Plan Policy Establish Allocable and Minimum Flows for Surface Water.


  • This indicator is based on maximum potential use (consented and permitted), not actual usage.

Further indicator developments


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