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Fresh water is a precious resource that Regional Council helps to manage and protect. In this section you can find helpful information about the work we do to manage water and how it relates to you.

Key Water Topics:

Didymo Rotorua Lakes
Freshwater Futures Swimming Water Quality
Harbourmaster Water Metering
Protecting Our Water Water Pollution
Regional Plans Water Use
Resource Consents
Rivers and Drainage

Quick Tip! To help you find what you are after, try typing a keyword into the search bar.

What do we use water for?

Fresh water is one of our most precious resources. We use water for domestic, industrial, recreational and cultural purposes.  Some of these uses include:

  • Horticulture and agriculture frost protection and irrigation
  • Generating power
  • Drinking water supply
  • Recreation including swimming, duck shooting, boating, fishing or passive and scenic enjoyment

There are two types of water that the Council is responsible for managing - surface water and groundwater. 

Surface water

Surface water is all the water that we can see, including: rivers, streams, lakes, drains, ponds, springs, and wetlands.


Groundwater is all the water contained below the earth surface in what we call aquifers. An aquifer is a wet underground layer of rock or loose materials (such as gravel, sand, silt, or clay) that holds water from which groundwater can be extracted by drilling a bore.

60 Minutes recently produced a very interesting insight into the impacts of taking groundwater and the implications at a global level. It also outlines some incredible global monitoring technology and goes some way to explaining why the Council is putting so much effort into understanding and managing groundwater resources in the Bay of Plenty.

Navigation safety 

Our Harbourmaster and Maritime Team keep Bay of Plenty waterways safe for everyone to enjoy. To find out more about local rules, how to be safe on the water and what we do click here. 

60 minutes - depleting our groundwater You can watch the full episode on the CBS website: 60 Minutes - Depleting the water