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Water management report. Auckland Council section 14(3)(b): groundwater takes

Helen Rutter, Aqualinc Research
Auckland Council, Aqualinc Research
Publication date:  

Extract from the Executive summary:

Regional Councils and Unitary Authorities have a responsibility to manage water resources, including allocation of these resources. The Resource Management Act (RMA) allows for water to be taken for reasonable domestic and stock water drinking water use, provided that the use does not, or is not likely to have, an adverse effect on the environment:

(b) in the case of fresh water, the water, heat, or energy is required to be taken or used for

(i) an individual’s reasonable domestic needs; or

(ii) the reasonable needs of a person’s animals for drinking water,

and the taking or use does not, or is not likely to, have an adverse effect on the environment.

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management requires Councils to set and apply limits and to establish and operate a freshwater accounting system. The difficulty is that not all allocation can be quantified. Section 14(3)(b) takes can be difficult to quantify, as councils cannot require the measurement, recording and reporting of the take.

In some areas, Section 14(3)(b) takes could represent a substantial proportion of the total water abstraction. For example, Waikato Regional Council estimated that Section 14(3)(b) takes could represent as much as 20% of the total surface water take in the Region, illustrating the magnitude of Section 14(3)(b) takes relative to consented takes in some areas.

This project aimed to model water use that had not been consented, known as Section 14(3)(b) (or permitted) takes. An earlier version of this approach was considered to generally over-estimate Section 14(3)(b) takes. This project aimed to evaluate the previous approach, adjust the model if needed, and determine a new estimate of Section 14(3)(b) water takes.

The new approach taken did not use Agribase data, on which the previous approach had been based, as the Council no longer licence the database. Instead, stock numbers were estimated from StatsNZ data. It is recognised that the numbers will not be correct on a property-by-property basis, but they should provide a reasonable estimate over larger areas. ...

Aqualinc Research for Auckland Council, September 2021