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National Groundwater Monitoring Programme (NGMP)

Funder: New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment   Duration: 2017-2019
Leader: Magali Moreau Nationally Significant Databases and Collections funding
(GWR funded until 2016)

Programme objectives

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Figure 1: NGMP site locations

The National Groundwater Monitoring Programme (NGMP) is a long-term research and monitoring programme operated by GNS Science in collaboration with all of NZ regional authorities. It provides:

  • A national perspective on groundwater monitoring used to define “baseline” groundwater quality
  • Associates  groundwater quality with certain causes such as anthropogenic influence
  • Best-practice methods for sampling and monitoring as well as groundwater quality data interpretation.

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Programme description

National monitoring – The programme is split into operations and research activities. Maintaining operations ensures that NGMP continues to provide a national perspective on groundwater quality. Samples are collected quarterly (by regional council staff) from over 100 groundwater monitoring sites around New Zealand (Figure 1). Samples are subsequently analysed at the GNS Science Wairakei Analytical Laboratory for 17 water quality indicators (i.e. major ions, nutrients, metals). Interpretation of the NGMP data allows for characterisation of the quality of New Zealand's groundwater resources at the national scale, and permits differentiation of natural chemical signatures and changes from those caused by human activity. The NGMP network activity is reported annually since 2012. NGMP research activities aims to: develop and disseminate best-practice methods for sampling, monitoring and interpretation of groundwater quality data; and, apply these methods to the NGMP and other complementary datasets to assist with improving groundwater management nationwide. Encapsulating research within the programme is crucial to ensure the right data is collected in an efficient way to address nationally and internationally significant environmental issues.

Contact: Magali Moreau

National groundwater database – GNS’s Geothermal and GroundWater (GGW) database was developed specifically for hosting geochemical and groundwater related data, as part of NGMP, following international database standards in the late 1990s. This database, publically accessible since 2011, was designed to serve as a national data repository. The GGW database hosts the quarterly updated NGMP dataset, but also hosts the low frequency sampling datasets (mainly fumaroles and waters) of GEONET (EQC funded) and other public and restricted-access datasets.
Contact: Magali Moreau

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NGMP research outputs

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The long-term research outputs comprises research publications, collaborative best-practice guidance; operational review; database upgrades and national reporting (Figure 2). They are listed below by output type, accompanied with a brief description of why it is important.

Research publications

McDowell R. W.; Cox N.; Daughney C. J.; Wheeler D.; Moreau M. 2015. A national assessment of the potential linkage between soil and surface and groundwater concentrations of phosphorus, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 51(4): 992-1002; doi: 10.1111/1752-1688.12337. Groundwater inflows are an important natural source of phosphorous, understanding their role in the phosphorous cycle is essential for sustainable nutrient management.

Sirisena K.A.; Daughney C.J.; Moreau M.; Ryan K.G.; Chambers G.K. 2014. Relationships between molecular bacterial diversity and chemistry of groundwater in the Wairarapa Valley, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 48(4): 524-539; doi: 10.1080/00288330.2014.923921.Understanding the relationships between groundwater quality and microbial diversity inform sustainable management of groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

Sirisena K. A.; Daughney C. J.; Moreau-Fournier M.; Ryan K. G.; Chambers G. K. 2013. National survey of molecular bacterial diversity of New Zealand groundwater: Relationships between biodiversity, groundwater chemistry and aquifer characteristics. Federation of European Microbiological Society Journal: Microbiology Ecology, DOI 10.1111/1574-6941.12176. This sets the first national survey of natural biodiversity in NZ groundwaters, the first step in managing sustainably groundwater ecosystems.

Morgenstern U.; Daughney, C. J. 2012. Groundwater age for identification of baseline groundwater quality and the impacts of land-use intensification - The National Groundwater Monitoring Programme of New Zealand. Journal of Hydrology, 456-457: 79-93. Combined age and groundwater quality data links land use impact to groundwater quality deterioration.

Daughney C. J.; Morgenstern U.; van der Raaij R.; Reeves R. R. 2010. Discriminant analysis for estimation of groundwater age from hydrochemistry and well construction: application to New Zealand aquifers,  Hydrogeology Journal, 18: 417-428.

Daughney C. J.; Baker T.; Jones A.; Hanson C.; Davidson P.; Thompson M.; Reeves R. R.; Zemansky G. M. 2007. Comparison of groundwater sampling methods for State of the Environment monitoring in New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 46: 19-31.

Daughney C.J.; Reeves R.R. 2006. Analysis of temporal trends in New Zealand’s groundwater quality based on data from the National Groundwater Monitoring Programme, New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 45:1 41-62. Determining natural rates of change in chemical concentration baseline provides context to define anomalous trends.

Daughney C.J.; Reeves R.R. 2005. Definition of hydrochemical facies in the New Zealand National Groundwater Monitoring Programme, New Zealand Journal of hydrology, 44(2): 105-130. Determining chemical concentration baseline provides context to define anomalous concentrations.

Daughney C. J. 2003. Iron and Manganese in New Zealand’s Groundwater.  New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 42: 11-26.Iron and manganese are regulated species (aesthetic and toxicity thresholds) which are naturally occurring in NZ groundwaters, this is needed to understand their natural distribution to manage groundwater quality.

Rosen M.R. 1999. The importance of long-term, seasonal monitoring of groundwater wells in the New Zealand National Groundwater Monitoring Programme (NGMP), New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 38: 145-169. Defining the objectives of a monitoring programme has implication on the analytical suites, the site selection and sampling collection.

National best-practice guidance (collaboration)-  Long-term monitoring relies on the ability to compare different analysis through time, which requires consistency in how samples are collected and analysed.

NEMS for Water Quality (draft scheduled for 2017)

Daughney C. J.; Baker T.; Jones A.; Hanson C.; Davidson P.; Thompson M.; Reeves R. R.; Zemansky G. M. 2007. Comparison of groundwater sampling methods for State of the Environment monitoring in New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 46: 19-31.

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Preparing sampling kit - You do not have permission to view this object.

Tools / Operation reviews -Ensures that the collected database continues to provide a long-term, national perspective on the state and trends of New Zealand groundwaters. Free applications developed through the programme support groundwater quality management and interpretatio

Daughney C. J. 2010. Spreadsheet for automatic processing of water quality data: 2010 update – Calculation of percentiles and tests for seasonality, GNS Science Report 2010/42. 19 p.

Daughney C. J. 2007. Spreadsheet for automatic processing of water quality data: 2007 update,  GNS Science Report 2007/17. 15 p.

Daughney C. J. 2005. Spreadsheet for Automatic Processing of Water Quality Data: Theory, Use and Implementation in Excel, GNS Science Report 2005/35. 84 p.

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Database upgrades and operations reviews -The database provides a long-term, national perspective on the state and trends of New Zealand groundwaters. Free applications developed through the programme support groundwater quality management and interpretation. 

Key dates:

  • 1998 National coverage achieved
  • 2007 First release of the NGMP calculator
  • 2009 Age is determined at all sites
  • 2010 Analytical parameters are mapped between SOE and NGMP programmes
  • 2011 NGMP is shown representative of the regional SOE networks; Data becomes freely accessible through the GGW database
  • 2012 Sampling frequency reviewed at all sites
  • 2015 or 2016 Online help and data entry manual are deployed
  • 2017 Release of a multi-filter data search tool

Moreau-Fournier M.; Daughney C.J. 2012. Dynamic groundwater monitoring networks: a manageable method for reviewing sampling frequency, Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14(12): 3129-3136; doi: 10.1039/C2EM30624G

Daughney C. J.; Raiber M.; Moreau-Fournier M.; Morgenstern U.; van der Raaij R. 2011. Use of hierarchical cluster 1 analysis to assess the representativeness of a baseline groundwater quality monitoring network: Comparison of New Zealand’s national and regional groundwater monitoring programs, Hydrogeology Journal, 20:1, 185-200. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-011-0786-2.

Moreau-Fournier, M.; Daughney, C.J. 2010. Procedure for checking laboratory water chemistry results prior upload to the Geothermal-Groundwater database. GNS Science internal report 2010/06. 62 p

Moreau-Fournier, M.; Reeves, R.R.; Reshitnyk, L.; Daughney, C.J. 2010. Incorporation of New Zealand regional authority state of the environment groundwater quality data into the GNS Science Geothermal-Groundwater Database. Lower Hutt: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2010/44. 113 p.

Rosen M.R. 1999. The importance of long-term, seasonal monitoring of groundwater wells in the New Zealand National Groundwater Monitoring Programme (NGMP), New Zealand Journal of Hydrology, 38: 145-169.

National Reporting - Repeated national assessment provide a benchmark on how well groundwater resources are being managed at the national and smaller scale. These technical reports uses NGMP data and are is commissioned by the Ministry for the Enviroment to inform national reporting on freshwater.

Moreau M.; Riedi M.A.; Aurisch K. 2016. Update of National Groundwater Quality Indicators: State and Trends 2005–2014, GNS Science Consultancy Report 2015/107. 42 p.

Moreau M.; Daughney C. 2015. Update of National Groundwater Quality Indicators: State and Trends December 2004-2013, GNS Science Consultancy Report 2015/16. 38 p.

Daughney C.; Randall M. 2009. National Groundwater Quality Indicators Update: State and Trends 1995–2008, GNS Science Consultancy Report 2009/145. Prepared for Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand. 60p.

Daughney C. J.; Wall M. 2007. Groundwater quality in New Zealand: State and trends 1995-2006, GNS Science Consultancy Report 2007/23. 65p