working together for healthy water
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healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for future generations

Our Action Plan

Our catchment, the mighty Upper Clutha, covers a total area of 4,600 km2.

The Community Catchment Plan is our shared roadmap to improve and maintain the long-term health of Upper Clutha’s freshwater.

It identifies risks to the health of our waterways, gaps in our understanding and actions we need to take in order to reduce the effects of human activity on our aquatic ecosystems.

Who is WAI Wānaka?

We’re an organisation set up to accelerate local action for our fresh water.

By working together, we empower communities to understand their water, their environment, and their impact.

We work alongside individuals, catchment groups, landowners, iwi, councils, businesses, community groups, schools and funders, undertaking positive work towards safeguarding water, improving ecosystem health and reversing biodiversity loss in the catchment.

This is WAI 2021

Want to find out about WAI in a snapshot? Download This is WAI 2021 or view the online booklet here.


Jobs for Nature

Strengthening our shared connections to land, water and ecology.

As part of a nationwide initiative, WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature programme delivers measurable benefits for the environment on-farm alongside providing much-needed local employment.

Wānaka Water Project

60 actions were identified for healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing through the Community Catchment Plan.

The Wānaka Water Project oversees the actions, organises community fundraising for riparian planting and commissions urban stormwater research.

Science and Education

Science and learning at the heart of local action.

Safeguarding the future of our waterways requires a plan and educational resources that are supported by scientific research, monitoring and data to make evidence-based decisions.

Action Groups

Connecting landowners, local businesses and the community.

Working together to protect healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for years to come. WAI Wānaka helped establish 6 of the 7 catchment groups and 4 small landholder groups operating in the Central Lakes District.


Lake Wānaka

192 km2 surface area
45 km long
277 m above sea level
Maximum depth: 311 m

Lake Hāwea

141 km2 surface area
35 km long
342 m above sea level
Maximum depth: 392 m

Clutha River / Mata Au

South Island’s longest river: 338 km
Average annual flow rate: 575 m3/sec


The more hands and minds working together towards the same goal, the greater the outcome.

Become part of our team of amazing volunteers. Fill in our questionnaire and let us know how you would like to participate.

Want to help us take care of this special place? Every donation, big or small, helps to create positive change for our environment.

Get in touch or sign up to our newsletter to have your say and stay in the loop about upcoming events and opportunities.

Planting session at Glendhu Wetland – Photo by Dion Andrews

News & Updates

  • This is WAI
    Accelerating local action for our fresh water. Summer is almost on our doorstep and with the current weather we hope you’re as excited as we… Read more
  • Rural update 23 Nov 2021
    With broom in full flower it’s a great time of year to get those outliers across the farm. The WAI team are trained to chop… Read more
  • Rural update 10 Nov 2021
    “We absolutely loved the Farm Tour so much. You created a wonderful welcoming environment and we learnt heaps but also it fed us so much… Read more
  • WAI at the WAO Summit
    We would like to invite you to join us for this year’s Wao Summit Food & Fibre events, 26th – 31st October. The Wao Summit is designed… Read more

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