One of the biggest threats to freshwater life, especially in rivers, is low water flow. Temporary low flows are natural, but a year-round reduction is not. In many parts of New Zealand, water is taken for irrigation and for hydroelectric schemes. Many rivers and streams in Canterbury and South Canterbury now have only a fraction of their natural flow. Drilling wells into the aquifers in the river gravels of the Canterbury Plains also reduces river flow, as groundwater and surface-water systems are linked. New Zealand’s lowland waterways have been considerably degraded by land use – many rivers now have less water, and of poorer quality.
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Otago Daily Times
Reference: 19 November 2005, p. 2
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