Wānaka Water Project update by Matt Shepherd

Community Wellbeing

Healthy Ecosystems

Risks to our Catchment

Wānaka Water Project

Kia ora koutou katoa! I haven’t had the chance to introduce myself to all of you yet. My name is Matt Shepherd and I have recently taken the project management reins from Megan Williams. Many thanks must go to Megan for the amazing job she has done up till this point and I am excited to steer the project through its next phase.

Fortunately for us here at WAI we aren’t losing Megan entirely as she continues in her role as a Community Connector. I thought it was about time that I updated you all on the progress of the Wānaka Water Project. Alongside progress I will discuss some of the ‘where to next?’ and highlight some of the recent success stories.

Left: Mandy Bell – WAI Wānaka Chair, and Julie Perry – WAI Wānaka Manager, with Megan Williams – Manager of the Wānaka Water Project from its beginning in 2018 until late 2020  |  Right: Matt Shepherd, new Manager of the Wānaka Water Project.

Applied Science Work Stream

We recently received the final report on ‘Stormwater Quality of Discharges into Lake Wānaka. This was written by Victoria Grant, based on her Master’s thesis that she recently completed through the University of Otago. This report examines how storms flush contaminants move via stormwater networks into Lake Wānaka. A summary of her work can be found here, or if you would rather read the full report then you can find that here.

My next blog post will talk about how this report and our science report from Melanie Vermuelen last year will be used to support our applied science work stream, and explain what the next steps are.

Community Catchment Plan (CCP)  

The CCP is always at front of mind here at WAI Wānaka as it underpins all of the work that we do. We work closely with community stakeholders to monitor progress on CCP actions, and we look forward to sharing these updates with you at our next Stakeholder Update Meeting on the 25th May.

The CCP itself is about to go through a refresh to ensure there is alignment with the updated National Policy Statement for Freshwater management (NPS-FM) as well as ensuring the literature review is up to date with the most recent science. We will then determine if any new research gaps have appeared that our community may want to focus our attention on. All potential changes will be presented at a community forum for all to comment on.

Success Story

The CCP was used by Dr. Simone Langhans (University of Otago & the Basque Centre for Climate Change) and Prof. Marc Schallenberg (University of Otago) as a case-study for highlighting, ‘A robust and transparent framework for weaving together diverse values in freshwater management’. If you would like to find out more about this research paper then, click here. Some of the highlights identified by the paper are:

  • Inadequate success casts doubt about the effectiveness of top-down driven management approaches.
  • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) may help weave together top-down and bottom-up values.
  • We trialled the approach in Wānaka, Aotearoa, to co-develop a management plan with the community.
  • It successfully integrated ecological, socioeconomic, indigenous and western cultural values.
  • The MCDA-framework promotes transformative change towards collaborative freshwater management

Riparian Planting Work Stream  

And just like that the weather in Wānaka has started to change. The 12 hours of sunshine and 25°C days seem distant memories now, but the cooler temperatures and seemingly persistent rain mean that planting can now get underway!! The plan for this season is to get 4,985 plants in the ground across 10 different sites, protecting over 500m of waterways.

Over the last few months, we have managed to do plenty of maintenance on our plantings. Our thanks go to all the Te Kākano volunteers for helping with maintenance of community plantings and to the landowners and the Jobs for Nature teams for helping maintain plants on private properties.

If you want to get your hands dirty, we would love to see you at one of our community plantings this season, organised by Te Kākano. To ensure that you don’t miss out, find out more at the Te Kākano website.

Cardrona Kaitiaki and Love our Alpine Lakes Fundraising

Thank each and every person again that donated to our Cardrona Kaitiaki fundraiser over the past year. It was an awesome achievement from everyone to get that finished up in February and I am excited to see these plants go in the ground over the next few weeks. As Cardona Kaitiaki has drawn to a close, the exciting challenge of raising the next $60,000 for next year’s plantings has begun.

Welcome to our newest fundraiser, Love our Alpine Lakes. If you would like to donate or gift some trees or just find out some more then, click here.