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A catchment, or whaitua, is an area of land around a river,
lake or other body of water. A healthy water catchment supports fishing, swimming and local ecosystems. Find your catchment at NZ River maps, an interactive webtool by NIWA

Join a restoration group

Local community involvement is one of the keys to the long-term health of water in a catchment, so plants, animals, fish and insects that depend on having healthy water can thrive and flourish.

Start a catchment group

If there’s no existing group supporting your catchment, it’s possible to start one yourself, and there are plenty of resources to help. The best way to improve water quality in your catchment is to get everyone who lives along it together, identify problems and come up with collective solutions.

Get involved in planning

Your regional council is responsible for decisions about the freshwater catchments, lakes and rivers in your region. If you’re interested in how your local river or lake is being managed, we encourage you to find out more about what your regional council is doing and get involved.

  • Many councils run full collaborative planning processes to make planning decisions about fresh water. Keep an eye on your regional council website for opportunities to be involved.
  • When a regional council makes or changes a regional plan it is required to notify the public. That’s your opportunity to make a submission. You can also sometimes make submissions on individual resource consent applications.
  • Beef and Lamb NZ has advice on its website for those who would like to influence regional council decision-makers (audio | PDF).
  • Find out about your local council’s plan for implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (Freshwater NPS) on the Ministry for Environment’s website.

Communicating and collaborating

Our research has demonstrated that collaborative practices improve decision-making in catchments.

  • Our Collaboration Lab researchers measured community participation in freshwater management decisions in 3 catchments and found that public perceptions of decisions improved in the 2 catchments using collaborative planning processes, and declined in the catchment where the collaborative process was not completed.
  • Find Our Land and Water-backed communication and collaboration tools in the Toolbox.

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