Wānaka Water Project

The Wānaka Water Project has been completed. It’s aim was to improve the understanding of the risks to our waterways and identify the actions needed to manage them. A project designed by the community for the community supported by a range of generous funders.

In collaboration with a network of passionate individuals, regulators, scientists, and community the project recorded many successes over its duration (2018-2023). This includes the creation of the Community Catchment Plan, planting 24,000 riparian plants along more than 7,000m of waterways as well as 2 comprehensive applied science reports and 2 science research projects.


Community Catchment Plan

Your ongoing action plan for the Upper Clutha’s freshwater! Designed by the community for the community. It addresses current and future risks to freshwater resources in order to prevent any decline in water quality and ecosystem function.

Riparian Planting

Native plantings to restore riparian margins around the catchment, led by Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust. 24,000 eco-sourced native plants were successfully planted along waterways over 5 years. Find out more about how you can support riparian planting.

Applied Research

Four research projects were undertaken, including two stormwater research reports, a hydrodynamic drifter study, and a project on valuing natural capital, all focused on investigating the impact of urban development on stormwater and drainage into Lake Wānaka.

Wanaka Water Project team
Riparian planting Wanaka
Applied Research as part of the Wanaka Water Project


Celebrating native planting in the Upper Clutha Catchment – a joint effort between the Wānaka Water Project and the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature programme.


Our Current Understanding

WAI Wānaka commissioned a review of existing literature to assist with the development of the Community Catchment Plan. The literature review included: A state of the environment summary, high level policy and plan direction, risks to the catchment. The literature review is currently being updated to include the most recent science, policy and applied research findings.

Community Values and Concerns

In 2019 a survey of the Upper Clutha community’s values and concerns regarding freshwater was published. 75% of those who completed it believe that water quality in the Upper Clutha is getting worse, with the key concerns being: agricultural runoff including the use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals; and issues related to population growth.

This work was made possible with the generous support of our community and partners: