Greater Wellington Regional Council will be making freshwater quality a "first priority", including waterways and rivers in Wairarapa, after welcoming the Government's new $100 million contestable fund to improve water quality nationwide last week.

GWRC chairman Chris Laidlaw said the new $100 million contestable fund to help clean up waterways is "extremely welcome" as both the council and landowners are "facing hefty cost increases" in meeting the Government's new national standards for freshwater.

"This funding will help us to work with communities to improve water quality," Mr Laidlaw said.

"We are on a transformational path from neglect of water resources to a new regime where the quality and availability of water is the first priority.


"The fund is a useful recognition of the vital work of regional and local councils working alongside their communities in innovative and new ways to protect freshwater resources which is fundamental to our future."

Two Whaitua (designated space) Committees are working alongside communities in Porirua and Wairarapa, to develop environmental goals for land and water management in their catchments.

The Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee was established discover "what the people who live, work and play in the Ruamahanga River catchment (whaitua) value about the water and land they share", according to the GWRC website.

The committee will bring forward the values and views of the catchment community into a management plan called the Whaitua Implementation Programme (WIP), the website continue, which will be merged into the GWRC Natural Resources Plan.

The new Freshwater Improvement Fund, which will cover 10 years of operating funding was confirmed by Environment Minister Nick Smith last Thursday.

It is part of a broader package of measures to strengthen new national standards and maintain momentum in improving New Zealand's freshwater management.

"This fund will help communities achieve their desired water quality and quantity limits faster," Mr Smith said.

"Recognising the importance of private investment, priority will be given to projects that include funding from business or philanthropic funds.

"By encouraging this funding now we can achieve significant results for New Zealand and minimise the long-term clean-up costs."

Mr Laidlaw said this will include setting targets and limits for water and that some of the recommendations that have been put forward by communities and Whaitua Committees will become part of GWRC's regional policies and regulations controlling how resources are managed in the region's catchments.