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Keeping healthy waterways

Keeping healthy waterways

Updated 12 November 2021 3:33pm

Support available to landowners for a better water quality future

Waterways, no matter what shape or size, contribute to the water quality in our region. We all have a part to play in protecting them from contamination.

If you have a waterway of any kind on your property we offer support to help keep it healthy. This can involve up to $15,000 towards the cost of fencing, planting and pest control.

View David Blackwood’s story of protecting the waterway on his farm, and how he made use of advice and financial support from Greater Wellington: 

What the funding can cover

Waterways can vary in size and type from springs, to rivers, to wetlands. Funding and support is available to protect all of them, and can contribute to fencing to exclude stock, pest plant control, planting and pest animal control. For more information contact or

More on wetlands

The benefits are far reaching

The margins of land around a waterway act as a buffer, preventing contamination of the water. Waterways flow into one another and eventually, contaminated water will be part of our freshwater ecosystem if we don’t do something to protect it.

Planting – act as a filter, reducing the amount of nutrients and bacteria entering the water in surface runoff. Over time planting will reduce bank erosion and maintenance costs. 

Fencing – is the most effective way to remove stock from waterways and prevent contamination.

Other steps to take

Work around water ‘hot-spots’

A spring or wetlands on your property will hold particular value as a water source or filter in our freshwater ecosystem. You could look at adjusting the grazing practices around this area so that it’s more protected, especially during winter.

Manage fertiliser and effluent applications

Check industry best-practice for the type, amount and timing of fertiliser and effluent applications. Following these will make a big difference to water quality in our region.

Meeting new water quality and quantity rules

Essential Freshwater Package

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM). Protecting and restoring the health of New Zealand’s waterways is a matter of national significance. The new requirements, which came into effect from 3 September 2020, advise local governments on how to fulfil their responsibilities under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Greater Wellington is responsible for implementing the new regulations, monitoring and compliance within our region. We are working with landowners, affected businesses and other industry groups as these new rules roll out, providing information and support to ensure the changes are understood by our communities. 

Learn more about the Essential Freshwater Package.

Proposed Natural Resources Plan

The proposed Natural Resources Plan combines Wellington region’s five existing regional plans into a single document. It is our response to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management issued by central Government that requires all regional authorities to implement new policy to better manage water resources. Learn more about the proposed Natural Resources Plan.

Until the proposed Natural Resources Plan is adopted, resource users must still comply with rules in the proposed plan and current rules in the five existing plans.


The Whaitua Te Whanganui-a-Tara Committee is a group of local residents, mana whenua, and council representatives, from the Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wellington working together to plan for a better future for water.

Broken pipes and major leaks from ageing water infrastructure signals an urgent need for our councils and community to solve water quality issues. Our urban and rural streams are not meeting good water quality standards.

To join the conversation on water, visit our Have Your Say page.


Get in touch for advice

Greater Wellington Regional Council is committed to working with landowners through its support programmes to improve the health of our waterways and wetlands across the region. To help us to provide a quality service to landowners, we assess and record our level of engagement with landowners regularly during the support process. This information will be held securely and used only by GWRC staff for the stated purpose.