Community water plan success

The Cardrona River, part of the new Integrated Catchment Management Plan | Image from the ORC

After 18 months of effort, our community has delivered an Integrated Catchment Management Plan to improve and maintain the long-term environmental health of the wider Upper Clutha catchment area which encompasses Lake Wānaka, Lake Hāwea and the Clutha, Hāwea and Cardrona Rivers.  A catchment is an area which collects rainfall into streams and down into the soil, eventually feeding rivers, lakes and wetlands. 

The development of this plan is supported by iwi (local whanau and Aukaha), urban residents, tourism operators, visitors, farmers, scientists, Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council.  Wide community involvement has ensured that the plan addresses current and future risks to freshwater resources, identifying ways to address existing water issues and prevent any decline in water quality and ecosystem function. 

The plan sets out the issues affecting water identified by community and the current baseline environment and risks to water quality. It also identifies gaps in knowledge and processes for water management decision making. The plan also lays out actions, indicators and responsibilities to achieve its goals. 

The plan makes clear that successful catchment management will require some changes in the way land and water are managed in the Upper Clutha.  Future opportunities include trialling new innovations and technologies that go beyond the traditional way of doing things.

The plan also identifies current knowledge gaps and a range of actions to be integrated into Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council plans.  Addressing the gaps and taking action requires a collaborative effort by councils and other parties.

Water is an essential component of a healthy, vibrant future for the Upper Clutha community.  Upper Clutha Lakes Trust congratulates all those who have contributed to the development of the plan over the past 18 months, particularly the Shaping our Future Water Taskforce, Dr Simone Langhans from the University of Otago and Landpro Limited.

The Upper Clutha’s Integrated Catchment Management Plan will soon be available for download from or contact Megan at for more information. 


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