Guidance on the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020

You can find all current guidance on the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (Freshwater NPS 2020) on this page. Further guidance is being developed with our Treaty partners and stakeholders and will be provided as it is finalised.

As part of the Essential Freshwater policy package, we are currently reviewing the guidance for the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (amended 2017). This is to assess its applicability to the Freshwater NPS 2020.

See the Guidance on the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014.

Technical guidance

Guidance on look-up tables for setting nutrient targets for periphyton

The Freshwater NPS 2020 requires councils to manage periphyton in rivers as a compulsory attribute to achieve the value ecosystem health. This guidance is intended to provide a starting point for defining nutrient concentrations for managing to the periphyton attribute, as required by the Freshwater NPS 2020 clause 3.13: Special provision for attributes affected by nutrients. It should be read together with the Freshwater NPS 2020 and other guidance.

Guidance incorporated by reference into the Freshwater NPS 2020

How we develop guidance and how you can provide feedback

Most of our guidance has been targeted towards regional councils, although it’s available to everyone. We’ve started looking at how we can provide guidance and support for some of the other groups involved in, and affected by, freshwater planning such as iwi and hapū, the primary sector, district and city councils, and members of communities.

We develop our guidance with assistance from technical experts. We then release the guidance as a draft and invite comment/clarification from users.

The guidance is finalised six months following its release after incorporating initial feedback from users. However as all the Freshwater NPS guides are living documents we welcome comment or clarification suggestions on them at any time. If you would like to provide feedback on a guide or any other freshwater matter, email us at

Find out more

Essential Freshwater new rules and regulations.

Information sheets describing the Action for healthy waterways package