Waterway monitoring

The Council currently monitors many waterways within Christchurch and Banks Peninsula for a range of aspects, including water quality, sediment quality and aquatic ecology.

This monitoring is undertaken for consenting purposes, and also to uphold the requirements of our policies and plans.

Water quality

The Christchurch City Council currently monitors the water quality at over forty sites in waterways within Christchurch monthly. Environment Canterbury monitors waterways in Bank Peninsula.

There is the potential that the Council will also undertake additional sampling in waterways in Banks Peninsula that are within settlement areas, as part of the Comprehensive Stormwater Network Discharge Consent.

Water quality is typically monitored for the following parameters:

  • Dissolved copper
  • Dissolved lead
  • Dissolved zinc
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand
  • Conductivity
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Enterococci 
  • Escherichia coli 
  • Total water hardness
  • Total ammonia (ammoniacal nitrogen)
  • Nitrate nitrogen
  • Nitrite nitrogen
  • Nitrate-Nitrite-Nitrogen
  • Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen
  • pH
  • Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
  • Salinity
  • Total Suspended Solids
  • Water temperature
  • Turbidity.

The results of this monitoring are presented annually in a report that assesses differences between sites and over time, and compares the results to guideline levels, to determine sites and parameters of concern.


Sediment quality

The quality of sediment on the bed of waterways is monitored by the Council every year. Monitoring is undertaken in a different catchment per year, on a five-yearly rotating catchment basis.

Sediment is typically analysed for the following parameters:

  • Particle size distribution
  • Total recoverable copper, lead and zinc
  • Total organic carbon
  • Total phosphorus
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Semi-volatile organic compounds.

These results are presented in annual reports that determine sites and parameters of concern, based on comparisons to guideline levels and any changes over time.



The Council has monitored the aquatic ecology of many waterways in the area for a number of years.

Ecologist monitoring the Avon with electric fishing gear (Probe and net)Monitoring is undertaken in a different catchment per year, on a five-yearly rotating catchment basis. Some sites are also monitored annually.

These surveys include assessments of riparian and instream habitat, aquatic plants and algae, aquatic insects and fish.

The results are presented in reports that assess the condition of the waterway based on relevant guidelines, as well as any changes over time.

Five-yearly monitoring reports

 Annual monitoring reports

 Other monitoring reports