The Waikato River Authority is a statutory body formed under the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010,the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Act 2010 , and with additional responsibilities arising from the  Nga Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Act 2012 (and He Mahere Taiao – The Maniapoto Iwi Environmental Management Plan.
The Authority has ten Board Members who are appointed by the river iwi and Ministers of the Crown. The Authority is the sole Trustee of the Waikato River Clean-up Trust whose role is to fund projects which meet the purpose of the Authority. The Waikato River Authority is supported in its work by a small Management Team who have been contracted for their specialist skills.