Integrated Freshwater Solutions (IFS)


The IFS model is a scoping model constructed from a Mediated Modelling process which extended over 3 workshop days with 16-18 participants from Horizons Regional Council, Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Fish and Game, Forest and Bird, Department of Conservation, Horowhenua District Council Tarenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated, Palmerston North City Council, Water & Environmental Care Assn Inc and Manawatu Estuary Trust, Te Kauru (Eastern Hapu Collective Rangitane), Muaupoko Tribal Authority, Te Kauwhata and Vision Manawatu. The model is a high level attempt to scope for trends and inter-linkages between sediment and nutrient loading, degraded water quality and aquatic habitat issues. Ecosystem Services associated with Land Use/Cover are introduced in this model at a Rapid Assessment level. The solutions volunteered by the participants are incorporated in the model to envision whether (1) the amount of funding required and from where would be sourced, and (2) what potential improvements could be anticipated from proposed actions. The model doesn’t ‘predict’. Instead, it is a way to develop leading questions to establish what we know and what knowledge needs to be pursued. The first iteration of the IFS model indicates that the actions developed under the MRFL action planning process are unlikely to curb current broad trends to meet the goals set out by the MRLF Accord. The benefits gained from actions undertaken are likely to be less that the deterioration resulting from higher stocking and population numbers. More fundamental solutions are required to convincingly show how future trends, especially regarding nutrient runoff, are to be curbed. It is envisioned that the IFS model will be updated if/when the participants are ready to discuss solutions from a shifted perspective. The IFS model would then be used as a collaborative, adaptive management tool.


The IFS model connects land use types (including urban) with loadings of sediment and nutrients to the river. Aquatic habitat and values such as mauri are also included. In addition, ecosystem services are derived from land use and land cover. Various management options (solutions) are incorporated into the model, such as just fencing off waterways, riparian planting of waterways, use of herd homes, reforestation of steeper hill country and restoration of wetlands.

Latest Version Not versioned
State of Development Alpha
Current Development Activity Update envisioned in 2013

Development Contact

Marjan van den Belt
64 - (0)6 - 356 9099 extn 81512
Ecological Economics Research New Zealand
Ecological Economics Research New Zealand
Massey University
Social Sciences Tower, room 8.01
PN 835
Palmerston North 4442
New Zealand

Main Developers

  • Ecological Economics Research new Zealand (EERNZ)


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social, Cultural
Management Domains Land, Freshwater
Subdomains Contaminant Losses, Water Yield, Erosion/Sediment, Ecosystem/Habitat, Crop/Farm Systems
Intended End Users
  • Researcher
  • Regional Council Scientist
  • General Usability
Temporal Resolutions Years
Temporal Extents Decades
Steady State or Dynamic Dynamic
Level of Integration Economic, Environmental, Social, Cultural

Input & Output Data

Key Input Data Macro-economic data, Land Use, Land Cover, Rainfall, Runoff, Population cohorts, Migration, Fertility, Cultural
Input Data Formats Stella-file format
Key Output Data Macro-economic data, Runoff, Cultural Ecosystem services
Output Data Formats Stella-file format


Open/Closed Source Open Source
Licence Type No Licence
Licence Cost
(Non Commercial)
Licence Cost

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows
Software Needed Stella/Ithink
User Interface Graphical desktop
Ease of Use Easy A user-friendly interface allows you to change papameter values through sliders and switches.
Use in Policy Process Plan (Policy Formulation), Review (Issue Identification)

Planned to be released by June 2012

Support Marjan van den Belt
Users Forum Not Available

Technical Considerations

Methods included for calibration and validation The model was calibrated to fit historical data trends.
Methods included for managing uncertainty this model does not deal with uncertainty.
Analytical Techniques Mediated Modeling
Keywords Manawatu, catchment, Nitrogen, phosphorus, Sediment, Runoff, Flood protection, Natural Capital, Maori values and Mana
Linkages to other Models

IFS Presentation: EIANZ Conference – Sydney 24 – 25 October 2012

Key References

Marjan van den Belt, Heike Schiele, Vicky Forgie (2013): Integrated Freshwater Solutions — A New Zealand Application of Mediated Modeling. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) Vol49(3) 669-680.

Hiike Schiele (2015): The Voice(s) of Maori in Integrated Freshwater Mangement - A case study in the Manawatu River catchment in New Zealand. PhD Theisis, Massey University, Palmerston North


Associated Case Studies

IFS - Manawatu Catchment

The intent of this Mediated Modelling process was to explore big solutions in a collaborative process and use the model to structure the dialogue and the data requirements in projecting broad brush scenarios into the future.


Other Key Case Studies

Pohangina case study is a down-scaled version of the regional IFS model.