How the internet helps watch New Zealand’s water

Published on the 29/06/2015 | Written by Vendor - media release

lake tarawera water watch

Environmental monitoring website Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) has expanded the number of sensors nationwide to provide more data on New Zealand’s water…

In a statement, LAWA said it now displays real-time data on river flow, groundwater and rainfall levels at over 1000 sites around the country. This is in addition to water quality data available on its website. “We believe LAWA is one of the first of its kind to bring together a whole country’s water quality and quantity data into one place,” said Fran Wilde, chair of Local Government New Zealand’s regional sector.

“Building on the beach and river quality information already available on LAWA, the real-time flow and water level data will allow those who rely on water for business or recreational activities to see the current state of the river or aquifer.”

LAWA shows how much water is available in different regions and how it is being used.

“Over 27 billion cubic metres of water is consented to be taken from our rivers and aquifers each year to meet our cities’ and towns’, industry, agriculture and hydroelectricity demands. That’s enough to fill almost half of Lake Taupo,” said Wilde.

“In addition to being a life-giving necessity, water is a vital input for the industrial and primary sectors and tourism upon which the New Zealand economy relies. In some regions we are approaching water resource limits where water demand outstrips supply. This can constrain economic opportunities and put pressure on our river ecosystems.”

Launched in 2014, LAWA is a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils, the Cawthron Institute and the Ministry for the Environment. It has been supported by the Tindall Foundation and allows anyone to access information about the quality and availability of New Zealand’s natural resources.

Wilde said LAWA would be adding more data about the quality of New Zealand’s lakes in the next few months, followed by air quality monitoring.

LAWA will also contribute to a new national environmental reporting regime being designed by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.

LAWA can be accessed on

Post a comment or question...

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Follow iStart to keep up to date with the latest news and views...