Marlborough's Aquifers


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Marlborough's Aquifers

Marlborough has a number of aquifers, the most significant of which are located beneath the Wairau Plain. The Wairau Aquifer is by far the most important. It is coloured light blue on the map and underlies most of the northern Wairau Plain.

Almost all water used by Blenheim and its hinterland for crop irrigation, industrial processing, municipal and stock supply is sourced from the Wairau Aquifer. It is not surprising that it receives the most focus within the district.

The Lagoons Transition Sector and Riverlands Transition Sector were defined for water management purposes and have not been described in detail because they share attributes common to both the Wairau Aquifer and Riverlands Aquifer.

In other areas of Marlborough, groundwater is less prominent either because the local geological structure does not naturally store water, or there is no significant source of recharge. Some of these minor aquifers include:

Other groundwater systems exist, but have no formal name yet such as those linked to the Rai/Te Hoiere/Pelorus River system and beneath Havelock or Picton.

  • Are Are Creek Gravels Aquifer

    ​Are Are Creek is a Northbank tributary of the Wairau River which drains the lower Kaituna Valley, north-west of Renwick.

  • Benmorven Aquifer

    ​The Benmorven area is underlain by the most highly confined of the Southern Valleys' aquifers and contains the oldest groundwater, with the lowest yielding wells.

  • Brancott Aquifer

    The Fairhall-Brancott Valley is home to some of the original grape plantings in Marlborough.

  • Coastal Wairau Plain Aquifers

    The coastal aquifers occur at depths of greater than 30 metres below the surface, and are located within several kilometres of the Te Koko-o-Kupe/Cloudy Bay coastline.

  • Deep Wairau Aquifer

    ​During the 1997/98 drought a number of irrigation supply wells in the Fairhall area ran dry and owners were forced to drill deeper in search of water.

  • Fairhall River Gravels Aquifer

    The Fairhall River drains the southern hills catchment.

  • Lower Waihopai Aquifer

    The Lower Waihopai Aquifer is the name given to all groundwater resources underlying the broad floodplain of the Waihopai River north of Craiglochart bridge.

  • Northbank Tributaries

    ​Various creeks and streams drain the Richmond Range and flow into the Wairau River on its northern bank, opposite Wairau Valley.

  • Omaka Aquifer

    The Omaka Aquifer underlies the Omaka-Hawkesbury Valley.

  • Omaka River Aquifer

    Groundwater losses from the Omaka River collect in the adjacent or underlying gravels to form a multi-layered groundwater system. This is known as the Omaka River Aquifer.

  • Rarangi Shallow Aquifer

    The boundaries of the Rarangi Shallow Aquifer are the Pukaka River, Pukaka Hills, Wairau Diversion channel to the south, and the Pacific Ocean.

  • Riverlands Aquifer

    ​The Riverlands Aquifer was recently defined as a separate system in recognition of its isolation from the Wairau River, low yield and old groundwater.

  • Southern Marlborough Groundwater Resources

    ​There is little evidence of the presence of high-yielding aquifers in the Lower Awatere Valley, Blind River, Waima River or Flaxbourne areas.

  • Southern Springs

    The Southern Springs occupy the area between Woodbourne and Blenheim, with northern and southern boundaries in the region of Middle Renwick Road and New Renwick Road.

  • Taylor River Related Aquifers

    ​Associated with the Taylor River are two groundwater systems. A shallow aquifer known as the Taylor River Gravels Aquifer is linked to channel flow.

  • Tuamarina River Valley Aquifer

    The Tuamarina or Waitohi Valley separates Picton from the Wairau Plain and is drained by the Tuamarina River.

  • Waikakaho River Gravels Aquifer

    The Waikakaho River is a Northbank tributary of the Wairau River located between Kaituna and Tuamarina.

  • Wairau Aquifer

    ​The Wairau Aquifer underlying the northern Wairau Plain is the highest-yielding system in Marlborough due to a perennial source of recharge from the Wairau River.

  • Wairau Valley Aquifer

    Wairau Valley is the westward extension of the Wairau Plain. The area is dominated by two features: the Wairau Fault and the Wairau River.

  • Woodbourne

    ​Sandwiched between the relatively water-rich Wairau Aquifer to the north, and the water short Southern Valleys to the south, is Woodbourne.