At-risk catchment project

Almost every catchment in New Zealand is at risk from human activity in one way or another. 

The at-risk catchments project is part of the Action for healthy waterways programme. 

It aims to deliver:

  • national level information to enable targeting of regulation, investment and potentially other interventions as envisaged by the Land and Water Forum
  • ‘exemplar’ catchments where we model ways of collaborating with the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Primary Industries, regional councils, iwi/hapū and communities to improve freshwater health. These exemplars will also provide us with information about gaps that could be filled by either regulatory or non-regulatory interventions. 

What a catchment is

A catchment is an area of land where water collects when it rains. As the water flows over the landscape it finds its way into streams and down into the soil. It eventually feeds into rivers, lakes and wetlands. Some of this water filtrates through the ground to aquifers (groundwater).

Every inch of land on Earth forms part of a catchment. New Zealand has an estimated 4200 catchments, large and small. They all have different conditions which impact on water quality.

NZ Landcare Trust catchment management approach [NZ Landcare Trust website]