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Freshwater Futures

Freshwater is vital for the health of people and communities and is the lifeblood of our natural environment.

Through the National Policy Statement for Freshwater (NPS), central government has directed Bay of Plenty Regional Council to improve the way that water is managed in the region so that:

  • Our lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and the estuaries they flow into are kept healthy for people to enjoy
  • Water allocation decisions are well informed, sustainable, efficient and based on agreed limits
  • Te Mana o te Wai (the unique relationship iwi have with freshwater) is recognised and protected
  • Native plants and animals thrive in healthy freshwater habitats.

Our NPS implementation programme was publicly notified in December 2015: National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPSFM) implementation programme

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Key challenges for managing water in the Bay of Plenty

Quantity: There is only so much water available for use, but the demand for it is increasing.

Quality: The region's freshwater quality is good compared to national standards. However, freshwater resources are under pressure with water quality declining and the mauri of water degraded in parts of the region.

Land use: How we're using the land can affect water quality and quantity.

Climate change: Changes in our climate could affect landuse, timing, amount and intensity of rainfall. Sea level rise may impact on aquifers and streams. There may be changes in both demand and availablity of water.

Region-wide Water Quantity - Proposed Plan Change 9

Find out about the work we're doing to improve how we manage water allocation and use in the region.

Visit the Water Quantity Plan Change page and the Proposed Plan Change 9 page for more information

Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management 

Proposed Plan Change 10 to Bay of Plenty Regional Water and Land Plan

Find out what is being done to  protect lake water quality for Lake Rotorua

Visit the Proposed Plan Change 10 page

Water management areas

Nine Water Management Areas give us practical geographic areas for managing freshwater in the Bay of Plenty. They're based on a range of factors, including physical surface catchments, iwi cultural boundaries, Treaty settlement, major project areas and where people live. But that doesn't mean there won't be some border crossing when required. Water doesn't necessarily stay within a boundary, so there will be times when we won't either.

Water Programme Catchments 

Community Groups

We’ve set up community groups in water management areas in Rangitāiki, Kaituna/Maketū and Pongakawa/Waitahanui catchments to help us make some important decisions about water in these areas.

Find out more about the Community Groups and how you can become involved

Find out more about the Kaituna/Maketu and Pongakawa/Waitahanui Catchment

Find out more about the Rangitaiki Catchment

The groups will help:

  • Identify local community values for freshwater
  • Set local limits for water quality and quantity
  • Develop solutions for managing water in their catchment.

Similar work will roll out in other Bay of Plenty catchments from 2018. 

View the November 2015 media release about this: Water advisory groups appointed

Regional Water Advisory Panel

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has established the Regional Water Advisory Panel to advise on regional issues which the Bay faces in implementing the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

The Panel, made up of key stakeholders representing Māori, environmental, economic development, energy, forestry, agricultural and tourism interests, contribute their expertise to the way our region’s freshwater is managed.

Find out more about the Regional Water Advisory Panel

Key figures

10 major rivers - Wairoa, Kaituna, Tarawera, Rangitaiki, Whakatane, Waioeka, Motu, Raukokore, Otara and Whangaparaoa

12 Rotorua lakes - Okareka, Okaro, Okataina, Rerewhakaaitu, Rotoehu, Rotoiti, Rotokakahi, Rotoma, Rotomahana, Rotorua, Tarawera, Tikitapu, plus many other regional lakes including Rotokawau, Matahina and Aniwaniwa

3 major hydro dams

5 major river and drainage schemes and 37 minor rivers and drainage schemes managed

5 Bay of Plenty Regional Council integrated water management programmes currently underway: Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes, Ohiwa Harbour, Te Ara Whanui O Rangitaiki, and Kaituna/Maketu Pongakawa/Waitahanui water management programmes

Nine Water Managment Areas established

267,744 people living in the Bay of Plenty (based on 2013 Census)

37 iwi and over 200 hapu in the region

352.1km of stopbanks maintained - protecting towns and rural land

We manage 1100+ consents to take and use water from ground and surface water sources. The total volume allocated to these consents is approximately 1.94 million m3 per day (equivalent to 22,500 litres per second - similar to typical summer flows in the Tarawera River!)

700 river and stream flow measurements taken each year.

Science, monitoring and research

Regional Council leads and supports a range of scientific monitoring and research work to improve understanding about freshwater sources, use, availability, quality and how these can best be sustainably managed. See recent freshwater data and science reports here>>