Groundwater is an important and widely used resource in New Zealand. We continue to learn more about groundwater in Southland through our research and investigations and the Southland Science Programme.
In order to manage our groundwater resources, we've subdivided unconfined aquifers in Southland into 30 groundwater management zones, which have similar hydrogeological characteristics.
Confined aquifers are managed separately because they respond differently to abstraction and recharge is more difficult to quantify. Currently in Southland there two confined aquifers with significant levels of abstraction in the Mossburn / Lumsden area.
See our map showing groundwater zones and well information for each zone.
Aerial groundwater mapping project
From the beginning of November 2022, we'll be using the latest airborne electromagnetic technology (AEM) to understand more about one of our critical groundwater resources. Find out more about the project here.
Groundwater research reports
Groundwater and nitrate movement
Groundwater provides an important source of drinking water for people and livestock in Southland. However, what we do on top of the land (land use) can affect the quality of the groundwater sitting below.
Other research reports
- Report - Assessment of Sensitive Environments - April 2009 (PDF, 1.1MB)
- Report - Balfour Groundwater Project Information Sheet - October 2010 (PDF, 507.1KB)
- Report - Balfour Nitrate Hotspot Report - June 2008 (PDF, 2.1MB)
- Report - Central Southland Plains Groundwater Study - August 1998 (PDF, 417.1KB)
- Report - Edendale Groundwater Management Zone Technical Report - October 2010 (PDF, 4.2MB)
- Report - Edendale Model - January 2012 (PDF, 6.2MB)
- Report - Estimating Time Lags for Nitrate Response in Shallow Southland Groundwater - April 2014 (PDF, 1.5MB)
- Report - Five Year Median Nitrate Technical Report - July 2012 (PDF, 918.6KB)
- Report - Fractured Rock and Confined Aquifers - Recommendations for Sustainable Management - October 2010 (PDF, 386.8KB)
- Report - Groundwater Quality in Southland Information Sheet - 2010 (PDF, 205.1KB)
- Report - Groundwater Quality in Southland: A regional overview - September 1998 (PDF, 1.1MB)
- Report - Groundwater Quality Survey Results for Lower Waiau Nitrate Survey - February 2012 (PDF, 806.7KB)
- Report - Groundwater Report on the Balfour Groundwater Quality Study - July 2010 (PDF, 1.7MB)
- Report - Hydrogeology of the Oreti Basin - July 2005 (PDF, 4.3MB)
- Report - Knapdale Technical Report - June 2012 (PDF, 2.5MB)
- Report - Management of Confined Aquifers in the Southland Region - February 2008 (PDF, 804.4KB)
- Report - Mid Mataura Groundwater Model - 2007 (PDF, 6.1MB)
- Report - Nitrate Hotspots Survey of Wells with Excessive Nitrate - June 1999 (PDF, 2.3MB)
- Report - Northern Southland Groundwater Model - May 2005 (PDF, 552.6KB)
- Report - On-site Wastewater Groundwater Quality Risk - July 2013 (PDF, 882.5KB)
- Report - Oteramika Trial Catchment Groundwater Studies. Studies into Non-point Source Groundwater Effects in Southland - August 1998 (PDF, 1MB)
- Report - Regional Mapping of Groundwater Denitrification Potential and Aquifer Sensitivity - November 2011 (PDF, 3.9MB)
- Report - Review of Environment Southland Groundwater Quality Monitoring Programme - May 2004 (PDF, 1.4MB)
- Report - Review of Groundwater Quality Monitoring Results from Heenan's Corner nested Piezometer site - June 2009 (PDF, 563.8KB)
- Report - Riversdale Groundwater Management Zone Technical Report - October 2011 (PDF, 3.1MB)
- Report - Riversdale Irrigation Water Use Assessment - October 2011 (PDF, 1MB)
- Report - State of the Environment: Groundwater Quality Technical Report - May 2010 (PDF, 1.2MB)
- Report - Surface Water and Groundwater Relationships in the Mataura Catchment Above Gore - February 2008 (PDF, 1.2MB)
- Report - Waimea Land and Water Care Group - July 2013 (PDF, 1.9MB)
- Report - Waimea Plains Piezometric Survey - March 2003 (PDF, 371.7KB)
- Report - Waituna Catchment Groundwater Resource Technical Report - May 2012 (PDF, 5MB)
- Review of Environment Southland spring gauging programme_22 May 2012 (PDF, 1.8MB)