What is a catchment? A catchment, or whaitua, is an area of land where rain flows into a common river, lake or other body of water. A healthy water catchment supports swimming, fishing, and local ecosystems. Find your catchment at NZ River maps

Join a catchment 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.

Tips for a great catchment group

Lyndon Strang of the NOSLAM catchment group in North Otago has some great advice for catchment groups in the first 6 minutes of this video.
  • We've developed a four-step plan for catchment groups to develop effective farm plans.
  • Find Our Land and Water-backed communication and collaboration tools in the Toolbox.
  • Living Water, a partnership between DOC and Fonterra with contributions from several Our Land and Water scientists, is trialling tools and solutions in 5 catchments around the country. Follow their progress for inspiration from this leading-edge project.


Measure your progress

It's important to use standard measurements for the land management actions being made to improve water quality in your catchment. This allows information from multiple farms and restoration projects to be compiled and linked to water quality outcomes. See our list of potential standard measurements below. Our ongoing work to create a Register of Land Management Actions for New Zealand will continue to refine and improve this list.

Get involved in catchment 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).
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