Understand what’s happening around Southland to improve water quality.

Environment Southland Regional Council is working in partnership with Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku towards improving the region’s waterways through their Water and Land 2020 and Beyond project.

The region has been split into six catchments and water quality and quantity limits will be rolled out across these catchments by 2021. 

Limits will be set based on outcomes from community consultation as well as findings from Environment Southland’s extensive freshwater research programme.

Environment Southland is developing a detailed understanding of how contaminants are lost from different types of land, move through the soil, groundwater aquifers, and into streams and rivers. This understanding has enabled the Regional Council to provide targeted advice and will lead to management strategies that will reduce contaminant levels in local waterways.

The nature of Southland’s soil and water systems provides an opportunity for local groundwater to improve relatively quickly compared to other regions across New Zealand.

Southland Fonterra farmers’ progress towards some of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord targets.

  • 99

  • %

  • of significant waterways are fenced and have dairy excluded

The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord defines regular crossing points as “any permanently flowing rivers, streams, drains and springs, more than a metre wide and 30cm deep.”

  • 100

  • %

  • of regular stock crossing points have bridges or culverts

The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord defines regular crossing points as “those used more than once a month to access the milking shed.”

  • 92

  • %

  • of farms have collected nutrient management data



Living Water

The Living Water awarua / waituna catchment programme

is focused on

  • Working with farmers to protect, restore and reconnect fragmented wetlands, improve in-stream habitat and water quality, and support the uptake of best farm management practice.

  • Collaborating with other groups to achieve similar goals and contribute to large-scale wetland restoration at Waituna Lagoon under the DOC-led Arawai Kākāriki programme.

In August 2017 Living Water helped secure $5 million from the Ministry for the Environment to demonstrate the scalability of alternative drainage system designs and technologies to reduce the impacts of ground and surface water contaminants on Waituna Lagoon and its tributaries.

Contaminant reduction targets, farm plans and establishing a buffer around Waituna Lagoon will be critical tools deployed as part of the project.

Catchment call out #1

The Pourakino catchment group was formed in 2014 by a group of farmers who want to improve water quality in the Pourakino Arm of the Jacobs Estuary.

Catchment call out #2

The group is working on minimising sediment runoff, and improving waterway and nutrient management.

Fonterra has supported Environment Southland with the ‘Southland Water Resources Study’ which has identified the Mataura catchment as an area with significant potential water demand in the future. The study aimed to identify options to meet this demand in a sustainable way while enhancing the social, cultural and environmental values associated with the Mataura River.



Find out about the water quality in a river near you.





Thanks to those who attended our Open Day, view the photos below


view ‘Our commitment to New Zealand’s waterways’


understand how northland is improving water quality