Environment Southland

What do we value about water?

Our freshwater environments support our way of life. Our health and cultural wellbeing, natural ecosystems, and the economy are all sustained by it. We use freshwater to drink, to produce goods and services, and enjoy for recreation. For Māori, freshwater is a taonga (treasure) and fundamental to the cultural identity of iwi and hapū.

We all have a common interest in making sure that our lakes, rivers and streams, aquifers and wetlands, estuaries and springs are managed and cared for. Their health and wellbeing is vital for the health and wellbeing of our land, our resources (including fisheries, flora and fauna) and our communities. When our waterways declines, it influences the way we use the water, and the water's ability to support freshwater ecosystems and social, cultural and economic activities.

For 150 years we've been modifying our land and water resources to build our lives, alongside a strong economy for our region. Over that time, waterways in Southland have declined.

If we want healthy water in the future, we need to do things differently. Working together, we need to stop our water quality getting worse and do our best to improve it.

As part of the Government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater and increasing expectations from our community, we developed the People, Water and Land programme.

Crank Up Edendale Jan 2019

Identifying values and setting environmental outcomes as objectives

Determining the community's values and objectives for freshwater is a key requirement in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 (amended 2014, 2017, 2020), and all regional councils must undertake this.

Identifying values is important as this provides councils with an understanding of what's important to our community and needs to be protected or restored.

There are a number of compulsory values listed in the NPS-FM, and part of the regional council's role is to confirm these values and identify an environmental outcome (or objective) for each of these values. These outcomes essentially outline what measurement and level should be used to ensure that value is protected.

Environment Southland worked closely with Te Ao Marama Inc, the environmental arm of Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku to confirm and identify community and iwi values for water.

The gift of water

We've talked to some people across Southland about what water gives to them. You can read more about what they said below.

  • Stewart Bull
    Stewart Bull
  • Otama School
    Otama School
  • Jane Milne
    Jane Milne