Fresh water is a precious resource that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council helps to manage and protect. Fresh water (our rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater) is essential to life, work and play; it sustains the things we value.

We collaborate with others to maintain and improve our water resource for future generations.

What happens on land affects our waterways. Because of this, we provide funding, advice and regional coordination to help improve the way land, water and biodiversity habitat is cared for in our local catchments. We've made great progress over 15 years, managing and protecting our region's waterways and habitat through community projects and work with landowners under our land incentive projects.

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

  • Agriculture and horticulture, including frost protection and irrigation.
  • Generating power.
  • Drinking water supply.
  • Recreation including swimming, duck shooting, boating, fishing or passive and scenic enjoyment.
  • Cultural ceremonies and gathering kai.

We invest more than $30 million each year on work with local people to improve and protect the water in local rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers.

This includes:

  • Ground and surface water quantity and quality information collected from 680 water monitoring sites across the region.

  • 6 Bay of Plenty Regional Council integrated catchment management programmes currently underway including for Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes, Ōhiwa Harbour, Eastern Catchments, Te Ara Whanui O Rangitāiki, and Kaituna/Maketū Pongakawa/Waitahanui water management areas.
  • We manage 1300+ 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!).

  • Recording more than 1300 river and stream flow measurements each year.

  • Collecting more than 25,000 water quality samples each year, to see what our water can tell us.

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

  • 352.1 kilometres of stopbanks maintained to protect towns and rural land from river overflows.

Te Hononga is the Māori relationships and engagement plan for the NPSFM and RNRP work programme. It is an action under He Korowai Mātauranga focussed on building relationships with Māori and provides a pathway to support the implementation of the NPSFM 2020.

Te Hononga recognises that iwi and hapū across the region have different interests, different levels of readiness, and varying ranges of capacity and capability to participate in planning processes. In response, a flexible approach is proposed, in which various options for involvement are made available, individually or in combination.

Two key phases are proposed:
Phase 1 (Now-Dec 2020): informal hui to establish engagement preferences and set up the project
Phase 2 (2021-2023): Confirm and establish engagement options and collaborate with Māori to identify values and design corresponding attributes. This will inform the policy development process.

New freshwater rules

The Government is taking action to restore and protect the health of waterways. The new rules  aim to halt the degradation of our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands – all farmers will be affected.


Lakes are a treasure of the Bay of Plenty region. We are partners of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, a partnership with Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust, to preserve our lakes for present and future generations.


The Bay of Plenty region has ten major awa (rivers) and hundreds of other rivers and streams that sustain our work, life and play. BOPRC has four river scheme advisory groups: Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme Advisory Group, Rangitāiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme (including Rangitāiki Drainage Scheme) Advisory Group, Whakatāne-Tauranga (formerly Waimana) Rivers Scheme Advisory Group, Waioeka-Otara Rivers Scheme Advisory Group.


Wetlands are the natural boundary between land and water and are important ecosystems in the Bay of Plenty. 

Focus catchments

Together with landowners, Regional Council has already delivered action on the ground through more than 2000 property-level environmental plans to reduce land run-off and protect local rivers and streams in the Bay of Plenty.

Water use

We monitor and manage water use to make sure water supplies do not get too low. If you wish to use significant amounts of water you may need to apply for a resource consent.

Water metering

Water metering means we have accurate data to use when managing the region's water resource.

Protecting our water

We work alongside landowners, communities and stakeholders to reduce all negative impacts to water.

Monitoring, science and research

The Bay of Plenty 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. 

Co-governance and advisory groups

Technical and community panels have been established to inform our freshwater work.