Urban Catchment Project

Community Wellbeing
Healthy Ecosystems
Risks to our Catchment
WAI Action Groups
Wānaka Water Project
The aim of the urban catchment project is to improve the health of urban streams in Wānaka through education and community-led action, ultimately culminating in the development of an urban catchment plan.

The initial phase of this project will ensure communities are informed about local water issues, engaged to preserve, and improve the health of urban streams and their surrounding ecosystems, take ownership of issues they can affect and support the delivery of actions that will have a positive impact for the waterways.

How will this be achieved?

Community-led urban catchment groups will be established through neighbourhood groups, school groups, clubs etc, or built around one or more specific environmental or sustainability goals. Our aim is to establish catchment groups with a diverse array of priorities and from locations that represent the whole Upper Clutha Catchment and involve all ages and all living groups. A key criteria is for each group to be passionate to restore, protect and preserve our local urban catchments. Each group will determine their own priorities and will be supported and facilitated by WAI Wānaka.

urban catchment group meeting

Where things are at

WAI Wānaka have recently facilitated an urban catchment community forum with the findings available here. The forum helped highlight existing needs, desires, areas of passion and environmental pinch points in the community. This work has since been integrated into the ongoing development of the project.   

The urban catchment project aims to replicate the success of WAI Wānaka’s work in the rural sector. Key practices and processes developed when forming the rural action groups are being transferred into the urban context. Much of what has been learned applies to both settings.   

Urban Community Events

Neighbourhood urban catchment groups are a great way for residents to learn, collaborate and take unified action in their own neighbourhoods. A community planting event took place early November 2022 in the Kirimoko area with a turnout of over 45 people across the 3-hour event. Held in collaboration between WAI Wānaka, Bike Wānaka, Southern Ventures, Southern Lakes Sanctuary and Wānaka Backyard Trapping, the event involved planting, plant maintenance, bike trail maintenance and the installation of a trapline. Events like this are a great opportunity to establish localised urban catchment groups.

Learning from others

To support the work of urban catchment groups, a literature review and wider research has been carried out to identify existing examples of community-led and cross-community collaboration on urban environmental restoration approaches both in Aotearoa / New Zealand and overseas. This has helped capture ideas and key learnings from an array of different projects with the aim to replicate or adapt successful projects to fit the Upper Clutha.  

How to get involved

This project is already generating interest within the community with 4 urban pilot groups in the initial phases of being established. Each group has key participants that are currently reaching out to their neighbours, friends, and other community members to see if anyone else is interested in joining their efforts. The next step with each group is to set goals and targets and start actioning change. 

If you see this project as something you might like to get involved with – please don’t hesitate to reach out to Olly Eden-Mann on oliver@waiwanaka.nz 

One of our pilot groups is the Young Environmental Collective or yo.ECO for short, an 18-30’s environmental leadership group. We are still on the hunt for passionate environmentally focused locals between the ages of 18-30 (exceptions can be made) to join this action group and make a difference in the amazing place we are lucky enough to call home. 

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