Project phases

The Water and Land 2020 & Beyond project has three main components that run as parallel work streams: Focus Activities, Water and Land Plan and Catchment Limits. Through this project Southlanders will be able to work together to improve our water quality and manage water quantity for future generations, while providing for our economic, social and cultural well being.

Focus Activities

From late 2011 to 2014 the project steering group provided advice to Environment Southland around five focus activities, which were identified as agricultural activities which were having the largest impact on water quality in Southland. The five focus activities were:

  • Hill and high country development
  • Nutrient management
  • Intensive winter grazing
  • Overland flow
  • Riparian management

From this work, the Focus Activity Farm Plan programme was established, with land sustainability officers working with farmers of all stock types across Southland to encourage the adoption of good management practices.

A Focus Activity Farm Plan is an environmental plan that provides farm-specific good management practice advice and recommendations for your property. It focuses on activities that can significantly affect water quality (such as riparian management and wintering).

View our factsheets on a range issues and find out how you can make a difference with good management practices.

Water and Land Plan

We are currently reviewing the Regional Water Plan for Southland and the Effluent Land Application Plan with the goal of updating these to form the Southland Water and Land Plan. The aim of the new plan will be to prevent any further decline in water quality and help the community to achieve our goals for water.

Catchment Limits

The catchment limits work stream will address the limit setting requirements of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. ‘Limits’ refer to the total amount of water that can be taken out of a water body, or the total amount of contaminants that can be discharged into it without affecting desired outcomes.


We are investing in a comprehensive research programme to better understand the science behind managing our freshwater systems and the economic impacts of limit setting in Southland. Other research will look at community and cultural needs and values relating to freshwater and the impacts of limit setting on local communities.