Living Water: Dairy and freshwater thriving together

About Living Water

Mō Living Water

Farming and freshwater thriving together

Te puāwai ngātahi a te mahi pāmu me te wai māori

Living Water was a ten-year partnership between the Department of Conservation and Fonterra from 2013-2024. Living Water trialled tools, methods and approaches to enable farming, freshwater and healthy ecosystems to thrive side-by-side.

Living Water worked with farmers, scientists, councils, mana whenua and communities to design and test solutions to improve freshwater quality, and shared the results of trials and research on this website.

Our mission

Tā tātou Whāinga

70 projects

Trying things out, costing them, and planning how to take them to scale

5 regions

Demonstrating dairying and freshwater ecosystems thriving together

1 mission

To build connections which can drive better outcomes for the environment, the economy and New Zealanders

Our mission

Our people

Ō mātou tāngata

With nearly 40% of New Zealand’s land under their care, Fonterra and the Department of Conservation joined forces to work on the farming and freshwater challenge.

We worked on the ground, side by side. We shared our expertise and used our collective strengths.

Our people

Where we worked

Ngā wāhi e mahi ana mātou

How we worked

Te āhua o tā mātou mahi


Worked towards a common vision of dairy and freshwater thriving together


Designed and trialled solutions in five unique catchments


Measured the impact we had across 10 years


Scaling implementation — worked out what works and what it will cost


Championed change — to mindsets, approaches, systems and aspirations

How we worked

What we did

He aha tā mātou mahi

Check out what we have been up to around Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tools and solutions

Ngā Taputapu me ngā Rongoā

Our projects, case studies, and resources

Tools and solutions