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  • Water always runs downhill, from mountains to sea. In the Waikato, individual drops of freshwater begin their journey in the catchment around Lake Taupō and travel through the Waikato River all the way to Port Waikato. The Waikato River receives water from other sources along the way – groundwater, precipitation and tributaries. The Waikato River is a huge source of water for both the Waikato and Auckland regions.

    Rights: Tristan Brynildsen

    Pirongia forest stream

    Several streams have their origins on the slopes of Pirongia Mountain. Each stream has its own water catchment area and feeds into larger water catchments in the Waikato region. This stream feeds into the Waipā River, which joins the Waikato River at Ngāruawāhia.

    There are a variety of methods used in the Waikato region to collect water to use for drinking. They include pumping water from the Waikato River, smaller streams and aquifers. Roof water is also collected and used in rural areas.

    This activity is part of a suite of resources that support Smart Water – a context for learning, which provides students and teachers with opportunities to connect with water and learn more about drinking water in the Waikato region. The science and mātauranga concepts that underpin Smart Water are transferable to other locations in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    In this activity, students explore the major freshwater features and sources of water for the Waikato region.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • recognise major water bodies in the region
    • identify water sources for Waikato.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    Smart Water – integrated inquiry cycle groups Smart Water resources into key science and teaching concepts that underpin water conservation.

    Rivers and Us – a context for learning has pedagogical information and links to numerous resources that explore water use and water quality.

    These resources provide useful background information about catchments:

    Activity ideas

    Other activities in Smart Water:

    Useful links

    Visit Smart Water for water level alerts, water saving tips and more.

    Use an online map to view water features in the Waikato region:

    Use an online map to find out where water travels in your district:


    This resource has been produced with the support of Smart Water.

    Rights: Smart Water

    Smart Water

    Smart Water is a partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council. Aiming to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water from source to tap, it supports schools, organisations and the community to use water sustainably.

      Published 11 May 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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