The dairy industry has agreed to a new set of standards designed to improve waterway quality.
The Sustainable Dairy Water Accord will replace the Clean Streams Accord which lapsed at the end of last year.
The agreement aims to keep 90 per cent of cows from significant waterways and drains by May 2014, with 100 percent compliance set for 2017.
The accord will also introduce new nutrient and irrigation monitoring systems.
It's the first time an industry-wide set of standards has been agreed on.
Fonterra's managing director of co-operative affairs Todd Muller says the dairy industry needed a more robust set of rules.
"Clearly, there's more work to do, particularly on effluent management, which is behind where it needs to be," Mr Muller says.
"While the targets may seem ambitious, our experience with the DCSA shows that given access to the right information and support , change change introduced, our impact on the environment can be reduced and we can protect the New Zealand dairy industry's reputation here and overseas."
Fonterra plans to hold 50 meetings between March 4 and 15 to introduce the new accord to farmers.