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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.

Freshwater futures

From planning and policy work, to action on the ground, we care deeply for water. Regional Council invests more than $24m each year in work to maintain and improve water quality and quantity in the region. Find out more about our work.


Our Harbourmaster and maritime team work to keep Bay of Plenty waterways safe for everyone to enjoy

Protecting our water

Find out how you can make a difference in improving and maintaining water quality in the Bay of Plenty

Regional Water and Land Plan

The Regional Water and Land Plan promotes the sustainable management of our region's water and land resources.

Resource consents

Resource consents help to ensure that our natural and physical resources are allocated and used efficiently and sustainably.

Rivers and drainage

The Bay of Plenty region has eight major rivers emptying into the Bay, which are the Wairoa, Kaituna, Tarawera, Rangitaiki, Whakatane, Waioeka, Motu and the Raukokore rivers. Schemes have been put in place for Bay of Plenty rivers and streams to protect our communities from flooding. 

Rotorua Lakes

We are proud 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.

Swimming water quality

More than 80 popular coastal, river and lake recreation sites around the Bay of Plenty are monitored for swimming water quality. Sites are monitored for faecal contamination (bacterial monitoring) from October to March each year and for toxin-forming algae species (algal bloom monitoring) from October to June each year.

Water metering

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

Water pollution

If you are concerned with pollution in any waterway in the region, contact our pollution hotline. 

Water use

We manage water use to make sure supplies to do not get low.



Wetlands have an important role - find out more about what they do and why we need to look after them.


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More about water

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.

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