Property owners and residents are responsible for taking care of private waterways. For more information on maintenance responsibility, see
Who maintains watercourses.
Maintain a healthy waterway
A healthy waterway:
- is free of pollutants, so they don't reach our beaches
- adds value to your property
- helps manage flood risk.
Select suitable plants
The right variety of native plants around the stream:
- creates shading
- enhances wildlife habitat
- holds back rainfall and soaks water into the ground
- makes banks more stable, reducing erosion
- sustains the stream during the dry season.
Remove weeds that may suffocate native plants and block the flow of water.
A few well-placed rocks or logs can reduce erosion by slowing down the flow of the stream.
Retaining walls do the opposite, making the flow higher and faster. Asphalt and concrete carry runoff into waterways without holding pollutants back.
Prevent severe erosion
If there is severe erosion around your waterway, you may need engineering works that require a consent.
Phone us on 09 301 0101 to get advice.
Use wire fencing
If you need to build a fence for safety, or to stop cattle entering waterways, use wire fencing. Solid fencing, such as timber or brick, can obstruct the flow of water.
Build the fence parallel to the water flow. If the fencing runs across a floodplain, make sure that water can flow through it.
Keep waterways clean and chemical-free
Make sure that the waterway is free of litter, garden waste and fallen trees.
Do not use detergents, fertilisers and pesticides in areas where they might flow into the waterway.
Funding for waterway projects
We offer grants and funding for waterway and wider environmental projects.
our range of grants.
For more tips on managing your waterway, see our caring for urban streams guides under
Stormwater forms and guides.
For the national guidelines on water quality, see the Microbiological Water Quality Guidelines for Marine and Freshwater Recreational Areas on the
Ministry for the Environment website.