Sandwiched between the relatively water-rich Wairau Aquifer to the north, and the water short Southern Valleys to the south, is Woodbourne.
While some summer recharge occurs from the Wairau Aquifer, Woodbourne mainly relies on water originating from the Omaka River (which is ephemeral). As a result, well levels generally fall by as much as 10 metres, the largest seasonal variation anywhere on the Wairau Plain.
A separate Woodbourne sector has recently been defined to recognise the transition area it occupies in the central Wairau Plain.
Woodbourne was the focus of early water management issues in Marlborough following the succession of droughts of the early 1980s.
Symbolic of the area is RNZAF Base Woodbourne with its associated community and industrial complex. Collectively, they are a large user of groundwater in their own right.