The Government's plan to reform freshwater management suggests a formal role for Maori to provide advice and recommendations in national and local waterway plans and decision-making.
The 58-page document, Freshwater Reforms 2013, outlines about a dozen possible changes.
The document's proposals include a framework regional councils will have to follow - by accounting for all water use as well as ways to Improve the process for Water Conservation Orders.
One of the reforms centres on ways iwi involvement could be effective in freshwater management planning. It says a more effective role is crucial in recognising tangata whenua as a Treaty partner.
The reform includes the suggestion that this can be done through a statutory requirement, and formalising a role for iwi to provide advice and recommendations for council before it makes a decision on submissions.
The Government's paper also reports on the benefits of change saying - in part - that iwi will have their values provided for without having to go through a costly court process.