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Home > Our region and environment > Water > Freshwater Futures > Council's freshwater work

Council's freshwater work

From action on the ground, to science, compliance, planning and policy work, Bay of Plenty Regional Council invests more than $30 million each year on work with local people to improve and protect the water in local rivers, lakes and streams.

That delivers work on the ground with land, business and infrastructure owners alongside iwi and the wider community to:

Download our Water Booklet (pdf, 13.6MB) for an overview of how Regional Council manages and monitors the region's water quality and quantity.

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 the latest water quality monitoring results at and recent freshwater science reports here>>

Our scientists use all sorts of different indicators to assess and manage water quality. They include sampling for bacteria (E.coli) and blue-green algae, as well as checking water temperature and nutrient levels (which can affect blue-green algae growth), clarity, and doing counts of macro-invertebrates (the insects and other creepy crawlies that live in the water like snails, shrimps and worms).

Integrated catchment management

What happens on land affects our waterways. So we provide funding, advice and regional co-ordination to deliver work on the ground that improves the way that  land, water and wildlife is cared for in local catchments. 

Together with landowners we’ve made great progress on fencing Bay of Plenty waterways in recent years, to protect them from stock damage and defecation. Region-wide we’ve achieved 75 percent protection along stream margins so far, and even more in our most vulnerable catchments. Farm animals are now excluded from:

  • more than 90 percent of waterways around Tauranga Harbour
  • 78 percent of Rangitaiki catchment waterways
  • 100 percent of waterways in eight Rotorua lakes catchments. The remaining four Rotorua catchments (around Lakes Ōkataina, Rotorua, Rotomahana and Tarawera) are more than 85 percent protected.

Fencing and planting waterways is one of many tools we’re using in our integrated approach to improving water quality throughout the region including in the Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Lakes, Kaituna River and Maketū Estuary, Rangitāiki and Ōhiwa Harbour catchments.

We also work with people to:

Watch these videos for more insights into our work to care for waterways in the Kaituna, Rangitaiki and Wairoa River catchments.

Wairoa River

Kaituna River

Rangitaiki River