Unlike state of the environment monitoring, pressure monitoring may not be long-term but more focused and detailed, involving a comprehensive monitoring of factors affecting the environment. Therefore, the monitoring be integrated and may extend beyond the environment or medium (e.g. water) in question.
An example of this is that when water quality is degraded in a catchment, councils will assess the sources of pollution. If found non-point sources (unlike consented and large scale discharges such as municipal treated sewage which are referred to as point sources of pollution and non-point sources may be a combination of numerous small scale discharges or spread out widely within a catchment) are the predominant cause of the pollution, a detailed monitoring or study on land uses and their impacts on water quality may be held.
The study may be desktop based on historical or any scientific research information or site assessments or both. There may be intensive monitoring of land use practices (e.g. farm dairy effluent irrigation) and land use changes (e.g. dairy conversion) and contaminant migration (e.g. leaching or runoff).