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All about water

All about water

Updated 4 February 2022 10:32am

Water is essential to life. We have built our communities around it and rely on it for so much. It is a precious resource and we are finding ways to manage it better and to balance our current needs and those of future generations.

To learn more about how we work to protect our water follow the links below:

 Whaitua Committees

As part of the Regional Plan review process, five whaitua (zone) committees are being established to examine water quality and allocation issues within major river catchments of the Greater Wellington Region.

The whaitua committees are community led advisory bodies and they are being asked to make proposals for integrated land and water management in their area. The committees work with the community to establish a vision for the catchment and a plan to achieve this.

The plan may include policies and rules and projectsfor managing water and land use and also recommendations that may be incorporated into the Regional Plan.

About whaitua committees

 Regional Plan Review

The purpose of Regional Plans is to assist the regional council in carrying out its functions under the Resource Management Act, which is to ensure that natural resources are sustainably managed.

Regional Plans are which is to ensure that natural resources are sustainably managed. The Regional Plans for the Wellington Region are currently being reviewed. A draft of the Regional Plan is due for public release in late 2014.

About reviewing the Regional Plan

Report an environmental incident

We want to know about all environmental incidents which involve the contamination of water. The 24-hour environmental protection duty officer will respond to incidents involving

  • Water pollution (discharges to streams, rivers, lakes, aquifers and the coastal marine area)
  • River works (channel/river mouth cutting, vegetation removal, diversions, excavations, gravel extractions, deposition and disturbance)

To report an environmental incident, phone the environment hotline on 0800 496 734. While you'll need to provide your name, address and phone number, your details are confidential and won't be released to other parties.

Environment Hotline

 Resource consents

Resource consents are one way we manage how activities affect our natural water.

GWRC deals with four types of resource consent:

  • Land use consents: for activities that involve constructing or altering bores, using or disturbing a river bed or lake bed, or soil disturbances
  • Discharge permits: for activities that involve discharging a contaminant or water into water, discharging a contaminant onto or into land, or into air
  • Water permits: for activities that involve taking, damming or diverting water
  • Coastal permits: for activities in the coastal marine

City and district councils deal with consents for other activities, such as subdivision consents and building permits. Go to your local council website for more information.

Find out more about resource consents

Porirua Harbour

Greater Wellington Regional council is working with Porirua City Council, Te Runanga ō Ngāti Toa Rangitira, and Wellington City Council and other community partners to ensure the sustainable management of this important natural resource.

Find out more about the Porirua Harbour

Akura Conservation Centre

Greater Wellington's Akura Conservation Centre is situated on the outskirts of Masterton. The centre grows and sells tree species suitable for erosion control as well as for shelter, fuelwood, and timber. Our staff can provide advice on planning, contract planting, tree species, establishment and protection techniques, shelter, pruning, chemicals and animal repellents.

Find out more about Akura Plant Nursery

River management

Greater Wellington's Flood Protection group works with communities to manage flood risk from the region’s rivers and streams.

Water supply

High quality water is essential for the health and wellbeing of our region. The cities of Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington are all supplied water by Wellington Water.

Find out more about the Wellington Region's water supply

Harbour management

The Harbourmaster and his team work to ensure all water users are able to share in use of our waterways in a safe manner.

Find out more about harbour management

Environmental Monitoring

Greater Wellington regional Council monitors the quality and quantity of the region’s air, land and water resources over time. We carry out long-term monitoring across the region, as well as short-term research and investigations where information gaps or potential problems are identified.

Environmental science



Recreational water quality

Regional Swimming Targets - improving water quality for swimming

Water quality and ecology


We work throughout the greater Wellington region to help protect, maintain and restore the local indigenous biodiversity (native plants, animals and ecosystems).

Find out more about biodiversity


Preserving our natural heritage and ensuring our economic future both depend on us caring for our natural resources, including rejuvenating damaged ecosystems. Introduced plants and animals have already radically changed our environment and despite our best efforts, as a country we remain susceptible to such threats from new, invasive species. Greater Wellington's main focus is on managing existing invasive species in the Wellington region. 

Find out more about biosecurity

What can you do 

In urban areas

Stormwater runoff affects streams in urban areas. Some of the main pollutants that get in our stormwater include:

  • Litter, leaves and clippings can breakdown in water, using up valuable oxygen or turn up in waterways and on beaches, making them unattractive and potentially dangerous. They can also injure freshwater and marine animals.
  • Dog and animal droppings increase the concentration of hazardous bacteria in streams and rivers.
  • Detergents discolour waterways and cause foaming also cause weeds and problem algae to grow.
  • Dirt and sediment clogs fishes' gills, making it harder for them to 'breathe'. It can also reduce water clarity, making it harder for fish to find food, starve plants in water of necessary light by reducing its penetration and encourage weed growth.
  • Waste paint and oil causes ugly oily sheens that suffocate stream fish and insects. It also contains heavy metals that are toxic.
  • Cement and chemicals fine particles smother stream life killing fish and insects

Find out more about keeping the region's water clean

 In rural areas

  • Undertake hydroseeding and mulching
  • Restore meanders at the bottom of catchment streams
  • Replant saltmarsh and terrestrial margin vegetation
  • Create wetlands for filtration
  • Maintain a streamside forest or scrub buffer of unharvested vegetation
  • Maintain a fenced streamside grass buffer
  • Fence off waterways to prevent stock access
  • Retire steep pasture land
  • Plant streamside vegetation to stabilise stream banks and prevent bank erosion

To find out more go to

Improving Parkvale waterways

Guidelines for Managing Stock Access to Waterways in the Wellington Region

Soil conservation