Country road

Physiographics Project

Waterways – With Descriptor


In 2016 Living Water commissioned Land & Water Science to undertake a desktop ‘physiographics’ project to map the different pathways water takes over land and through the ground in a catchment. The physiographics approach shows the architecture of water and contaminant flows under different rainfall conditions. It gives landowners a better understanding about where best to put contaminant management interventions to improve water quality leaving farms. 

The physiographic information is vital for the Whakamana Te Waituna project, which Living Water is a partner in. Within Whakamana Te Waituna, we are responsible for demonstrating the scalability of alternative drainage system design and contaminant management to reduce the impacts of ground and surface water contaminants on Waituna Lagoon and its tributaries. The physiographic information will allow us to figure out what to do where, and provide a platform to prioritise nutrient and sediment mitigation tools over the catchment. This will help ensure we invest the right solutions in the right place.


  • Targeting the right intervention in the right place in the landscape


  • Mapping work completed late 2016
  • Final report and interactive GIS platform completed June 2018
Nicki Atkinson

Nicki Atkinson

Impact & Partnerships Manager

Project Implementation

The project started in 2016 and was completed in June 2018

Progress: 100%


  • The physiographics information will be used to inform the Whakamana Te Waituna project, by helping us design and implement a catchment-wide nutrient and sediment management reduction programme.


Background and technical information

Waituna Catchment, Physiographic Units and Inherent Risk to Water

Physiographics reports