Much has already been achieved through the Wānaka Water Project. In collaboration with a network of passionate individuals, regulators, scientists and community stakeholders, the Wānaka Water Project has improved understanding of the risks to our waterways and identified actions needed to manage their impacts. The outcomes from the Wānaka Water Project will improve and maintain the long-term health of the wider Upper Clutha catchment area including Lake Wānaka, Lake Hāwea and the Clutha, Hāwea and Cardrona Rivers.

This work is made possible with the generous support of our funders: Ministry for the Environment, Sargood Bequest, Million Metres, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Otago Regional Council. The project has been divided into three key streams of work:

Community Catchment Plan

This is our action plan for the Upper Clutha’s freshwater. It identifies risks to the health of the catchment and gaps in our understanding.  The plan sets out 60 actions to achieve our community’s goals for the catchment.

Riparian Planting

Native plantings to restore riparian margins, led by Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust in partnership with landowners, QLDC, ORC and other stakeholders. To find out more about how you can support riparian planting, click here.

Applied Research

Applied research focussed on Wānaka stormwater, assessing the effects of urban development on lake health. The results of this research will help to define future management measures.

We’re thrilled at what has been achieved since the contracts were signed with the Ministry for the Environment in June 2018.


To view our current Annual Plan click here.


75% of those who completed the Upper Clutha water survey in 2019 believe that water quality in the Upper Clutha is getting worse, with the key concerns being agricultural runoff, the use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals, and issues related to population growth.

Literature Review

In 2019, 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.