The Riverlands Aquifer was recently defined as a separate system in recognition of its isolation from the Wairau River, low yield and old groundwater. It is a backwater area with sluggish flow and slow recharge.
It is effectively an eastward extension of the Southern Valleys' Aquifers with low-yielding wells and poorer quality water common. Well yields become less productive to the south and as the aquifer pinches out towards the Wither Hills.
Much of the Marlborough wine crop is processed at Riverlands and uses local groundwater as part of the process. Riverlands has the most diverse mix of groundwater uses of any area of the Wairau Plain with rural residential, food processing, industrial, irrigation and domestic purposes.