IoT working to improve the water quality in the Ōtākaro Avon River

Christchurch City Council is committed to improving water quality in the Ōtākaro Avon River catchment.

Customer problem

Christchurch City Council was undertaking manual water testing, with a lag of up to two weeks on results, to monitor water quality in the Ōtākaro-Avon River. They needed more frequent water testing, with faster results.


Four monitoring stations with Libelium IoT controllers connected to In-Situ sensors. Each powered by its own solar panel and uploads data every 15 minutes to the Adroit Cloud Platform via the Spark Cat-M1 Network.


High-quality automated data now provides a full picture of the water quality in the Ōtākaro-Avon, with 15-minute testing and immediate results – and things are “looking positive” for the future of the catchment.


From slow-result manual sampling to automated real-time data

Pristine water flows from the Southern Alps to aquifers deep below Ōtautahi Christchurch, but the water quality in the Ōtākaro-Avon River has been diminished over time by human activity. The Council aims to restore good-quality water to the catchment, and that requires accurate and regular measurements so they can monitor the success of their work.

The Council had previously been monitoring water with manual testing throughout the city, then sending the results for lab analysis. This is a relatively labour-intensive procedure, with a delay of up to two weeks before results are received. The system also fails to capture the full variability of the water quality throughout a day, especially during periods of heavy rain.

The Smart Christchurch team, alongside Adroit and independent experts, selected four monitoring sites to provide the widest possible view of what’s happening within the wider catchment. At each site, a station was installed which includes a Libelium IoT controller connected to an In-Situ sensor, measuring:

  • temperature   
  • conductivity
  • dissolved oxygen
  • oxidation-reduction potential
  • pH
  • turbidity

Each monitoring station is powered by its own solar panel, takes water measurements every 15 minutes and uploads the data to the Adroit Cloud Platform via the Spark Cat-M1 Network. The information is extremely useful for the Council’s water improvement efforts, allowing them to get a full picture of what’s happening in the river. The environmental data can be visualised at any time, on any connected device, and triggers notify stakeholders of contamination events as they happen.


Connecting the community to their catchment

Eventually the water quality data will be made accessible by the public, connecting the community more closely with their waterways.

“This is a real push for connection back to the river and giving, I think, a real-time view of what's happening,” says Maria McIntyre, Adroit South Island Business Development Manager. “I don't think a project has ever been done in a river of such historical significance in New Zealand – one that’s so central to the region and that runs through a city.”

The future for this urban waterway is “looking positive” but the Council wants to keep pushing the limits of innovation and collaboration, says Michael Healy, Smart Christchurch Manager at Christchurch City Council. “I'd like to think lessons learned from this implementation would be useful for future implementations. As hopefully we can expand the network, we can get more efficient and smarter about how we do it.”

Related articles

Water Monitoring

Climate change and population growth are putting pressure on water supply. It’s a resource we can no longer afford to waste. Water Monitoring uses several smart IoT solutions to manage different parts of a water supply chain.

Learn more


Citycare Water is New Zealand’s largest and most trusted water provider, maintaining over 40,000kms of piping at 1000’s of community reservoir tanks across the country.

Learn more

Explore our additional resources

Customer stories

See how New Zealand businesses are thriving and gaining real value with Spark IoT.

Learn more


We’ve saved you a seat for inspiring and thought provoking webinars. Hear insights from business leaders on how IoT is shaping New Zealand business.

Learn more


IoT technology is transforming a wide range of industries. 
Find out more about current trends, innovations and exciting developments in IoT.

Learn more

Browse solutions

Together with our forward-thinking local and global partners, we can provide the right end-to-end IoT solutions to meet your business needs. Our IoT solutions could help you reduce costs, improve health and safety, save time on monitoring and reporting, or increase efficiency and return on investment.

See IoT solutions



Launch & Announcement

8th March

Applications open

15th March to 28th June

Finalists Announced

27th July

Judging Starts

26th August

Winners Announced

4th September

Funding and the 5G Co-Lab testing

September to October

Winners fly to New York