Tackling Southland’s water quality is a big, complex challenge.

For over 150 years we’ve been modifying our land and water resources to create a better life for ourselves and a stronger economy for our region. Over that time, water quality in Southland has deteriorated.

If we want healthy water in the future, we need to do things differently. Working together, we need to stop our water quality getting worse and do our best to improve it.

The good news is we’ve already started.

Our work programme is about taking the next steps to improve Southland’s water and land for our community.

The programme is a partnership between Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama Inc. (the environmental arm of Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku). Its vision is 'inspiring change to improve Southland’s water and land'.

Our big goal is to reduce the impact that land-use practices have on the natural environment. This does mean changing the way we look after Southland’s water and land, so we can live well now and in the future.

We believe that working together, taking it step-by-step and listening to each other, will put us in a better position to achieve a great outcome for Southlanders, our economy and our environment, now and for future generations.

Now’s the time to look at what the future of freshwater could look like in your part of Southland.

We want our waterways to achieve a state of hauora – healthy resilience, where they can take a knock and bounce back.

The long-term visions we set for our freshwater will express the community aspirations for freshwater. This will help guide freshwater management in Southland.

Values for water
Te Ao Marama and Environment Southland worked together to identify the things that are important to people about water in Murihiku Southland. A set of 20 values were identified.

Read more about the values we confirmed.
Achieving hauora - Setting draft freshwater objectives
A complex task was undertaken to weave together the findings into one set of draft environmental outcomes for the whole region. Ultimately we want to achieve a state of hauora (healthy resilience) for our waterways.

Read more about the draft Freshwater Objectives.
Timeline to improve freshwaterWe are developing a cohesive and practical plan to provide for hauora, the health and well-being of waterbodies, within a generation. We’ve already made significant progress and there’s plenty more to do.

Find out more about this on the timeline.
Te Mana o te WaiTe Mana o te Wai is a concept that puts the well-being and health of our rivers, lakes, aquifers and estuaries at the centre of how we manage our freshwater. In Southland, the concept is already at the heart of our proposed Water and Land Plan.

Read more about how this concept.
What the science tells usEnvironment Southland has completed scientific modelling, using the latest information and data, to better understand the gap between where our water quality is now and where it needs to be to meet our goals for improved freshwater quality.

Read the results of this work.
Regional ForumThe Regional Forum is a community based group that was tasked with providing advice to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama on how we can achieve the communities’ aspirations for freshwater.

Read more about the forum and their advice.
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