Publications: Research reports and publications

Water management groups: preliminary guidance

2 July, 2018
Cawthron Report No. 3199. Prepared for the Ministry for the Environment

Sinner J, Newton M 2018. Water Management Groups: Preliminary Guidance. Prepared for Ministry for the Environment. Cawthron Report No. 3199. 15 pages



Diffuse effects from intensified urban and rural land uses on water bodies are difficult for regional councils to manage and equally difficult for individual land users to address. Because outcomes at sub-catchment and catchment scales are the result of multiple stressors originating from multiple properties, RMA policies and rules aimed at individual properties may not achieve the objectives specified in regional plans.

WMGs offer a way through this problem, and many groups have emerged around New Zealand over the past 15 to 20 years to address local issues. To use this approach more widely under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, however, will require a more deliberate and structured approach, so that the combined actions of all the groups in a given catchment will achieve the community’s desired outcomes for that catchment.

This report describes the authors’ preliminary guidance to WMGs, regional councils and other interested parties on how WMGs can be established and on what regional council plans could contain to improve the likelihood that groups will achieve the desired freshwater outcomes. These recommendations need to be tested in real-life situations, with research to document, analyse and share the findings in order to increase the effectiveness of this promising new approach to freshwater management.