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The Wheel of Water Research Programme


The Wheel of Water Research Programme is a 3-year project, funded by the New Zealand government to investigate collaborative water resource governance and management. The programme is led by Aqualinc Research Ltd and involves numerous partners, including industrial and academic institutions. The aim of the programme is to develop and trial techniques for improving water resource management by involving the wider community to address local issues and determine acceptable limits to water extraction and water quality. The programme also aims to support integrated decision-making and to develop decision-support tools that take account of social, environmental and cultural implications of those decisions.


As part of this process, the Wheel of Water diagram was developed as a means of clearly communicating and exploring the range of benefits or negative impacts associated with different water management scenarios, with the catchment community. The use of the diagram, along with other collaborative working techniques, was trialled at a number of locations across the country. The objective was that participants developed a common understanding of their catchment, the interconnections between their values, and the trade-offs between these values that might have occurred under different land and water management scenarios.



Website with project information – http://www.aqualinc.com/pages/72/the-wheel-of-water.htm

Lessons from two case studies report – http://learningforsustainability.net/pubs/WOW-casestudylessons.pdf

Aqualinc paper reviewing the tool – http://www.massey.ac.nz/~flrc/workshops/13/Manuscripts/Paper_Snelder_2013.pdf

Fraser, C., Fenemor, A., Turner, J., Allen, W., 2014. The Wheel of Water Research Programme: Designing collaborative catchment decision-making processes using a WaterWheel– reflections from two case studies, MBIE, C1205601. Aqualinc Research Limited.