Southland contains several large, iconic lakes that are valued highly by people for aesthetic, cultural, recreational and economic reasons.
Their unique ecological values are also important for sustaining land and water-based life. Pressures exist on many of our lakes and lagoons, from the intensification of surrounding land use, lake side communities and hydroelectric power. Waituna Lagoon located in Awarua, Southland, is both nationally and internationally significant. The lagoon was one of the first sites in the world to be named "a wetland of international significance" under the RAMSAR Convention.
- Find out more about the outcomes (objectives) set for our freshwater and estuaries. These are the goals that have been set to ensure that we can all have the water we want in the future.
- Read the report that outlines the latest assessment on environmental health
- Check out the map that shows sites closest to you, change the different measurements and see the current state and the outcome we’re striving for.
Where we monitor
Environment Southland regularly monitors indicators of water quality in Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri and Waituna Lagoon. In addition, spot sampling of water quality has occurred in a number of small, coastal lakes (i.e. Lake Vincent, Lake George, Forest Lake and the reservoir).
Lake Te Anau
From February 2000 to July 2007, samples were collected every month in Lake Te Anau (2 sites) and Lake Manapouri (three sites), but since July '07 monitoring has been conducted quarterly due to the excellent quality of water. Both lakes are considered natural state waters and have very clean water. In terms of water quality, they are in the top 10% of lakes monitored in New Zealand.
Four sites in Waituna Lagoon have been monitored monthly since August 2003, with earlier monitoring at the East site since Oct 2001. Since March 2011 there have been changes to the monitoring regime, with increased sampling occurring when the lagoon closes off from the sea.
Water quality results from our lakes and lagoons are also compared against national guidelines/standards, and the council's Regional Water Plan water quality standards and targets.
Where can I view monitoring information?
You can view a wide range of environmental information on Southland's lakes and lagoons on the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website. This website displays state and trend information for Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau, giving you access to water quality monitoring in a common, easy to understand format. You can also view sites from around the country.
For monitoring data from the Waituna lagoon, please visit www.waituna.org.nz
Surface water quality reports
- Identifying Pollutant Sources within the Waimea Catchment - July 2018 (PDF, 1.8MB)
- Report - Assessment of three lowland Southland lakes using LakeSPI - April 2015 (PDF, 1.9MB)
- Report - Benthic Cyanobacteria and Anatoxin-a and Homanatoxin-a Concentrations in Five Southland Rivers - October 2010 (PDF, 706.8KB)
- Report - Development of a South Island Wetland Macroinvertebrate Community Index - June 2010 (PDF, 936.6KB)
- Report - Ecological Condition of Six Shallow Southland Lakes - July 2012 (PDF, 6.8MB)
- Report - Environment Southland - Review of SOE Water Quality Monitoring Programme April 2010 (PDF, 1.5MB)
- Report - Environmental residues of anticoagulants used for pest animal control - June 2013 (PDF, 642.2KB)
- Report - Faecal Contamination in Selected Southland Rivers and Streams - 2013 (PDF, 753.3KB)
- Report - Fish Surveys in Non-Wadeable Systems - July 2013 (PDF, 928.1KB)
- Report - Lake George - Broad Scale Habitat Mapping - February 2013 (PDF, 1.6MB)
- Report - Lake Murihiku - Broad Scale Habitat Mapping June 2013 (PDF, 1.7MB)
- Report - Lake Vincent - Broad Scale Habitat Mapping June 2013 (PDF, 1.7MB)
- Report - NIWA - Design of Stormwater Monitoring Programmes - February 2014 (PDF, 967KB)
- Report - Nutrient loading to shallow coastal lakes - September 2013 (PDF, 1.1MB)
- Report - Otepuni Faecal Source Investigation Report - September 2012 (PDF, 2.2MB)
- Report - Potential inanga spawning areas in Southland rivers - December 2013 (PDF, 2.5MB)
- Report - Regional Scale Stratification of Southland's Water Quality - Guidance for Water and Land Management - March 2014 (PDF, 5.9MB)
- Report - Shallow Lowland Lakes Report - Estimates of Reference Conditions - October 2013 (PDF, 1MB)
- Report - Southland Water 2010: Our Ecosystems Technical Report for lakes and lagoons - February 2011 (PDF, 1010.3KB)
- Report - Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programmes - July 2010 (PDF, 442.7KB)
- Report - The effects of drain clearing on water quality of receiving environments - May 2012 (PDF, 1.9MB)
- Report - The Reservoir - Broad Scale Habitat Mapping - June 2013 (PDF, 1.7MB)
- Report - Updating nitrate toxicity effects on freshwater aquatic species -January 2013 (PDF, 768.8KB)
- Report - Waihopai Catchment Water Quality - 2005 -2006 (PDF, 705.7KB)