Groundwater science

Access to safe water is a fundamental human right that Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to protecting, with the science and innovation system playing a key role in helping ensure water sources are safe and resilient.

As groundwater is stored underground in spaces between rocks or soil particles, it is an important source for replenishing surface water and drinking water. Despite this, almost half of groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination, and the majority that are monitored don’t meet standards. Groundwater resources are also increasingly threatened by factors like land-use change and climate change. All of this reduces the health of groundwater ecosystems, and therefore the overall status of our freshwater ecosystems.

Because we can't see groundwater, it can be hard comprehend just how vital it is. This short video visualises what groundwater is, how we use it, and why it is under threat:


In this video, ESR groundwater scientist Dr Louise Weaver explains more about groundwater ecosystems: