Waikato River consents

Boy holding a glass of water

Board of Inquiry decision announced

We are pleased with the Board of Inquiry decision to grant a 20-year resource consent for up to 150 million litres a day (net) from the Waikato River, ensuring Aucklanders and their neighbours in Tuakau and Pokeno continue to have a reliable water supply as the population grows. This means we now have consent to take 300 million litres of water a day (net) from the Waikato River year-round, as the original resource consent for 150 million litres of water a day (net) is still active.

Click here to read our press release or you can access the decision below.

Button to click to view the Board of Inquiry decision to grant us a consent to take more water from the Waikato River

Our relationship with the Waikato River

Since 2002, the Waikato River has been part of Auckland’s water supply network. At present (February 2021), we have a treatment capacity of 175 million litres of water a day. Construction of a new water treatment plant neighbouring the existing plant in Tuakau will be done in stages to ensure we are able to cater for growth. The images below show how our resource consents have progressed since 2002, and detail who draws water from the Waikato River and why.
Infographic showing the amount of water we can take from the Waikato River and how that amount has changed over time

Auckland's Waikato River consents over time

Click the image to view our Waikato River consents since 2002

Who takes water from the Waikato River and why

Who draws from the Waikato River and why?

Click the image for information on who draws water from the river and why


Our current Waikato River resource consents

The resource consents that we currently hold are:

  1. Resource consent number 960089.01.04 allows us to take up to 150 million litres of water a day at any time of the year
  2. Resource consent number 141825.01.01 (referred to as the seasonal water take consent) allows for us to take up to 100 million litres a day during the period 1 May to 30 September (inclusive); and 100 million litres a day during the period 1 October to 30 April (inclusive) when the 7-day rolling average flow of the Waikato River at Rangiriri exceeds 330.03 m3/second
  3. Resource consent number 142090.01.01 (referred to as the Hamilton City Council Water Allocation consent) allows for us to take up to 25 million litres a day (or such lesser volume as determined by Hamilton City Council as being available for any given day) during the period 1 October to 30 April (inclusive). This is a short-term consent until 1 May 2023.

We will surrender our 'seasonal water take' consent and 'Hamilton City Council water allocation' consent when the new consent granted by the Board of Inquiry comes into effect.

Button to click to view the Board of Inquiry decision to grant us a consent to take more water from the Waikato River

Waikato water treatment plant

Background: All about our application

In December 2013, we applied to the Waikato Regional Council for resource consent to draw an additional 200 million litres of water a day from the river. That application has been on hold while the regional council processes other applications that were lodged prior to ours. Our focus remains on:
  • Securing sustainably sourced water to supply Auckland
  • Ensuring certainty of supply to meet peak demand.
On 30 June 2020 after considering advice from the Environmental Protection Authority, the Minister for Environment issued a direction under section 142(2) of the Resource Management Act (RMA) to refer our application to a Board of Inquiry. Our application was recognised as a proposal of national significance to be heard independently.
Waikato water treatment plant
Since our application was lodged in 2013, it was updated to address a range of matters which include:
  • Updates to population and demand assessments
  • Changes to the policy framework within which the application is considered
  • Reassessment of potential water supply sources
  • Updated assessments of environmental effects including the impact that the granting of our application could have on water available to others.
Our updated application will be heard by a Board of Inquiry.
Waikato River allocation and applications

The most significant revision to our 2013 application was a reduction in the volume of water we wished to take from the river. In consultation with Waikato-Tainui we reduced our application from 200 million litres per day to 150 million litres per day. This reduction along with others enabled all applications lodged before ours to be met under the primary river allocation (see bar graph).

The proposal acknowledged Waikato-Tainui’s special relationship with the river as outlined in the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010. It also recognised and respected their cultural and spiritual connection with the river.
Waikato River enhancement proposition

Our commitment to protect the river

River enhancement trust

As part of our application, we proposed the establishment of a river enhancement trust that protects and promotes the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. An initial area of focus for the trust would be the protection and extension of existing Kahikatea and Nikau bush areas (approx 12 hectares at present) and the establishment of a wetland (approx 6 hectares) within our site (see map). It is intended that these areas be transferred to the trust.