Risk maps of nitrate in shallow groundwater, Canterbury – 2017 update

The 2017 update to nitrate levels in shallow groundwater across Canterbury shows little change across most districts, with three new high-risk areas and one area that has gone from high to medium-risk.

The nitrate risk maps are for people with private bores drawing water from shallow groundwater aquifers and are used by Community and Public Health to help ensure safe drinking water.  They show the risk of shallow groundwater, in an area, exceeding the maximum acceptable value for drinking water of 11.3 mg/L of nitrate nitrogen.

In high risk areas there is an active programme to ensure people are aware of the health risks from high nitrates, and what they need to do to avoid effects, particularly for babies and pregnant women, and others at risk.  This includes encouraging people to get their bore water tested for the nitrate level, and using alternative drinking water supplies if necessary.

There are three new small areas which have moved into the high-risk category, and one area which has moved from high to medium risk (near Cheviot). The new high-risk areas are near Ikawai (north of the lower Waitaki River), near Fairlie, and near Lowcliffe in the Ashburton district.

The maps and advice are available at Community and Public Health board website.

Read the full Risk Maps of Nitrate in Canterbury Groundwater report.