Water Action Intiative

18 March 2020

With the same passionate people at the helm, Upper Clutha Lakes Trust is now WAI Wānaka. WAI, the Maori word for water, also stands for Water Action Initiative and WAI has plenty of action going on.

With the support of our funders and the community, WAI has spent the past 18 months developing a Community Catchment Plan which addresses current and future risks to freshwater across the Upper Clutha. The plan highlights issues facing our waterways as a result of the combined impacts of urban growth, land use change, tourism, climate change and invasive species. The 56 actions in the plan provide a roadmap for the collaboration and partnerships needed to safeguard the long term health of our alpine waterways.

WAI is also establishing the Alpine Lakes Research and Education Centre to provide a field station in Wānaka for New Zealand and overseas researchers, students, citizen scientists and the community. As well as encouraging more freshwater research, the centre will facilitate crossovers and connections with carbon, soil, climate change, biodiversity and sustainability.

The concept of ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea) is important to our community, given our region’s abundance of freshwater and our location at the headwaters of Mata-Au, the Clutha River. Together, we are all responsible for ensuring that the water that leaves the catchment is of a high quality, so that we don’t pass problems on to those downstream.

To get involved with WAI, check out our new website for more information and sign up to receive your copy of the Community Catchment Plan.