The Land and Water Forum is calling for national minimum standards to be set for New Zealand's waterways, wetlands and aquifers.
In a report issued on Friday, the forum said iwi and urban and rural communities should then collaborate to develop specific water quality objectives for each catchment and identify local solutions to achieve them.
It's the second major report from the forum which represents Maori and key freshwater interests, including farmers.
The forum will continue work on a third report to the Government which is due later this year. That will deal with ways of managing fresh water resources within limits, including allocation.