The Hekeao / Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge project (MAR) is New Zealand’s largest managed groundwater rehabilitation project, delivering ecosystem health and enhanced environmental, cultural and recreational values.

New Zealanders want clean rivers, streams and waterways. We want to be able to swim in, fish, gather food, enjoy and most importantly drink from our freshwater sources. We also want our children and grandchildren to enjoy that same opportunity.

The Hekeao/Hinds catchment is contained within the borders of Mid Canterbury, this farming area is among the most productive irrigated agricultural district in New Zealand. As a result, this catchment faces the pressures of reduced water quantity combined with reduced quality because of increased nitrate concentrations. 

The increase in farming intensity, climate change and other demands on our water resource have resulted in these adverse environmental effects. The Hekeao Hinds community have recognised and moved to address the catchment environmental issues.There must be significant changes in groundwater nitrate levels otherwise there is a risk that greater limitations may be placed on land uses in the catchment. MAR is just one of the tools our catchment is using to help address water quality and quantity issues.