Improving water quality on your property

Fenced and planted riparian waterway.

The Northland Regional Council works with community groups and landowners to improve the water quality in our region.

Our aim is to:

  • Make rivers, harbours and coastal water cleaner for recreational use and food gathering
  • Improve the ecology of our fresh and coastal waters, and
  • Reduce the amount of sediment build-up originating from the upper reaches of catchments, to decrease flood risk.

When water leaves your property, it carries with it any contaminants that may have come from your paddocks or stream banks, along with contaminants from upstream. The sediment and nutrients are added to each stream, which then all flow to our coasts.

What you can do to help

Fence off your streams and drains to keep stock out

  • This helps keep the water clean by keeping soil and animal waste on your paddocks where they belong.
  • Provide your stock with trough water, which also reduces the risk of animal health issues associated with contaminated water (e.g. liver fluke).
  • Council staff can work with you to help manage potential plant and animal pests.

Fence wetlands and smaller wet or boggy areas to keep stock out

  • The plants growing within the fenced areas will help trap sediment before it reaches the water.
  • Your stock won't be at risk of getting stuck in there.

Fenced wetland.

Plant along the riparian edges of streams, or allow long grass to grow

  • This helps trap sediment and pollutants running off your paddocks.
  • Planting native species increases biodiversity and habitat for native animals.
  • Tall plants on the northern side of streams help shade the stream water, cooling it and providing a healthier environment for native freshwater animals. Trees can also provide shade or shelter for your stock in nearby paddocks.

Stop soil eroding from your paddocks into streams by:

  • Keeping a thicker and longer grass cover, which might mean reducing the number of animals, or the size of stock, you keep on your property. In turn, this could also reduce the amount of supplementary feed you have to buy.
  • Plant trees (especially poplars) on steeper areas where you can already see signs of erosion. Spaced appropriately, they can also provide shade for your stock without affecting grass growth.

Poplars planted for soil erosion.

Is the water leaving your property as clean as when it flowed in?

Lifestyle block owners can help to improve water quality in Northland, just as commercial farmers can. 

Consider putting these actions in place on your property and ask a regional council land management advisor for more advice.

Fenced riparian waterway.

No-obligation advice

The land management team at the Northland Regional Council can provide you with free, no-obligation advice about:

  • Water quality
  • Erosion
  • Soil types and land use capability of your property
  • Biodiversity.


More information

For more information please contact our land management team on 0800 002 004.