Groundwater issues in Otago

A decline of groundwater quantity or quality can be due to natural, hydrological processes, and/or anthropogenic impacts.

Natural causes for groundwater quantity or level changes include a period of dry years in an aquifer that is mainly recharged from rainfall.

An example of human impact would be taking an amount of water that causes groundwater levels to decline. A natural hydrological process that can alter groundwater quality or the concentrations of minerals in groundwater is rock-water interaction.

Some ions, such as iron and manganese, can exceed drinking water standards, or guidelines in some parts of the Otago Region without any human intervention.

Anthropogenic impacts refer mainly to land use associated activities such as replacing native vegetation, the use of fertilisers, urbanisation and on-site waste disposal that affect the quality groundwater resource.

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