Groundwater is a valuable natural resource that is essential to our everyday lives. It sustains our rivers and spring-fed streams, lakes and wetlands. It also provides around half of our drinking water supply, and over 40% of the water used for agricultural irrigation comes from groundwater.

The way we use groundwater and manage our land has the potential to reduce the quality of this precious water resource. Water is becoming increasingly scarce in some catchments, while water quality is deteriorating. Protecting our natural groundwater resources presents significant challenges — at Aqualinc, it is our mission to address these challenges.

What We Do

The Aqualinc team understands the pressure to get water resource management right so we can protect groundwater quality while managing the impacts of climate change and the requirements of primary industries. Our research spans every aspect of water resource management, from developing efficient irrigation systems and effective land-based effluent treatment systems, to producing groundwater modelling for managing groundwater allocation.

We work across four key areas to protect our groundwater resources:

Groundwater quality protection

Aqualinc works with councils and land-owners, including primary industries, on groundwater quality projects to assess water flow and contaminant transport through aquifer systems. These projects range from modelling the source water risk management area around a local groundwater well for public supply, to assessing impacts of quarrying and filling on water quality, through to determining how regional land-use change can impact groundwater quality. Some of our work includes assessing the impacts of application of treated effluent on groundwater quality. Projects have also taken into account the impact of natural processes on groundwater quality, such as earthquakes and liquefaction.

Sustainable groundwater allocation

Managing groundwater allocation is an important balancing act. Through a mixture of research and consultancy, Aqualinc are well placed to answer a wide range of questions for our clients, such as:

  • What impact does increasing amounts of groundwater abstraction have on the flow regime and ecosystem function of groundwater-fed rivers and streams?

  • What impact does increasing abstraction have on the reliability of water supplies to individual groundwater users, and on the socio-economic wellbeing of communities?

  • How does the community decide how much groundwater to allocate for abstraction, and how much to leave to sustain groundwater-dependent ecosystems?

Potential influences on groundwater abstraction levels need to be evaluated from paddock scale (or smaller) through to catchment scale, while factoring in financial impacts and the socio-economic wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Climate change impacts

Modelling the impacts of climate change allows us to anticipate the effects of extreme weather events, predict the impacts of sea level rise on shallow groundwater to help inform water resource management decisions. These mean that we can take into account existing water allocations together with future water availability and supply reliability.
At Aqualinc, we provide our clients with research and consultancy services for modelling long-term impacts of climate change, determining the real-time effects on groundwater levels and evaluating the changing irrigation needs of New Zealanders. We also consider how the multi-layered impacts of climate change may require variations to future water allocation, as well as how long-term water management strategies can minimise the impact on the New Zealand economy while protecting its water and land quality.

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps utilise the heat in the ground as a source of heating in the winter and provide a heat sink for cooling in the summer months. They are a sustainable source of renewable energy.

We work with our clients to evaluate the potential of ground source heat pump systems across New Zealand, conducting hydrogeological investigations to determine their viability. We can also support our clients with the consenting process required for installing a ground source heat pump system.

Work with Us

Finding water resource management solutions that protect our groundwater while helping New Zealanders flourish is central to who we are as a business. Here are just some of the things we assist our clients with:

  • Determining environmentally sustainable levels of groundwater abstraction

  • Developing models for managing groundwater allocation

  • Establishing source water risk management area (source protection zone) delineation

  • Understanding the long-term effects to groundwater quality of irrigating treated effluent onto land

  • Assessing and managing salt-water intrusion risks

  • Conducting aquifer tests

  • Conducting pump and well tests

  • Assessing the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on our environment and infrastructure

  • Evaluating the potential for geothermal solutions such as ground source heat pumps, including hydrogeological investigations and consent applications

To find out more about the research and client work we do to protect New Zealand’s groundwater resources, please do get in touch.

Client feedback…

Well done, that was great! The insights you shared on short term variability were fascinating and have really significant implications for sampling and interpreting results.
Christchurch: +64 3 964 6521
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Hastings: +64 6 873 404
Cromwell: +64 27 457 0415

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