This report is the first time a national picture of water quality in dairying catchments had been published for New Zealand. The report draws together water quality and land-use information from 14 river catchments. The report establishes a baseline for these predominately dairy catchments against which future monitoring and reporting can be benchmarked. The key findings of the report are that water quality is generally degraded in the selected dairy catchments, particularly with respect to faecal and nutrient contamination. However, the extent and pattern of degradation is variable, both within, and between, catchments.