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Freshwater in the Bay of Plenty - an overview

We love waterFreshwater (our rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater) is essential to life, work and play; it sustains the things we value.  

Everyone has a role to play in caring for the waterways that sustain us.

The region’s water quality and supply is generally good but it’s under increasing pressure and needs improvement in some locations. Regional Council is investing more than $24 million each year each year into work with local people to care for the region’s natural freshwater.

That includes action on the ground in the Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Lakes, Kaituna River and Maketū Estuary, Rangitāiki and Ōhiwa Harbour catchments.

Two steps to improved water rules

Council is taking a two-step approach to improving the rules for water quality and quantity management in the region by:

  1. Strengthening water allocation limits through a Region-wide Water Quantity Plan change. Public submissions were received in December 2016. Hearings are scheduled for October 2017 and the new rules may be operative by March 2018.
  2. Working with communities to set limits at a localised level to meet water quality and quantity targets for specific areas and waterways (Freshwater Management Units).  This is underway in the Kaituna Maketū, Pongakawa Waitahanui and Rangitāiki catchments. It will roll out to other parts of the region in the coming years.

This is part of our work to implement central government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater.

Water management areas

Council has identified nine Water Management Areas to 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 settlements, 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