River running through hills

Detention Bunds

Research & Monitoring – With Descriptor

About the project

An ecosystem services report commissioned by Living Water identified widespread use of detention bunds as a potential solution for slowing water flows, removing sediment and improving overall catchment resilience. Engineers were engaged to design and build detention (earth) bunds in flow paths to collect and slow the release of stormwater on two farms. The ability of these structures to reduce peak flow and capture sediment in the Northland farming landscape will be assessed.

Once the performance of the bunds and their designs have been assessed, we will evaluate the cost effectiveness and water quality outcomes of using them throughout the entire catchment. In turn, this will determine whether detention bunds (or similar solutions) can effectively manage peak run off in Northland.


  • Reduced sediment to waterways


  • Concept and detailed design completed early 2017
  • Construction completed April 2018

News updates

  • See vlog explaining bunds here and timelapse here
  • Have held up well in heavy rain events in Northland in June 2018 
Matt Highway

Matt Highway

Sustainable Dairying Manager

All a detention bund is really doing is slowing down water. But the reason why this is really important is when water slows down it gives the environment a lot more time to treat that water.

Matt Highway
Catchment project image

Concept and detailed design

Completed early 2017

Progress: 100%

Project Implementation and Construction

Completed April 2018

Progress: 100%


Started early 2018 - will end in mid 2019

Progress: 25%

What’s Next

  • 12–18 months of monitoring before efficiency results determined

Read our case study