We monitor and manage water use and takes to ensure our waterways stay healthy. Depending on how much water you wish to use, you may need to install a water meter, register your take or if you wish to use significant amounts, apply for a resource consent.

Resource consents allow for groundwater or surface water to be allocated amongst different users. Water take consents can be issued for any purpose (unless it is a prohibited activity) but will only be granted if the water use is efficient and will not have a significant environmental or cultural impact.

Council is required by law to accept and process a complete consent application for any kind of water use. Each consent application is assessed and considered on a case-by-case, and first in-first served basis.

We currently manage more than 1200 active resource consents to take and use water in the Bay of Plenty. These include for town drinking water, electricity supply or industrial use, horticulture, and agriculture. Sixty-seven consents are held for local water supply and seven are held by water bottling companies. 

Irrigation NZ have issued some advice for irrigators to help them manage their water allocation during dry conditions. 

Council’s Regional Natural Resources Plan informs water allocation in the region. The online groundwater allocation map tool is based on 35 percent of residual average aquifer recharge. Council also has a scientific monitoring and modelling programme in place to increase our understanding of recharge rates, water use impacts and surface water connections in the region's aquifers. 

Our groundwater monitoring network currently includes 54 water level monitoring bores and 22 bores that we collect water quality data from. We monitor rainfall and river water entering and leaving the aquifers, and people’s consented use of groundwater and surface water.

Surface water is all the water we can see including: rivers, streams, lakes, drains, ponds, springs, and wetlands.

Our scientists identify a low flow level for each waterway, called Q5. It’s a seven-day average level that’s calculated from continuous monitoring and manual sampling data. There’s a 20 percent likelihood of Q5 levels occurring in any one year.

Generally 90 percent of that low flow (Q5) average is protected to support natural processes, leaving 10 percent of that amount available for people to use. High flows, above average levels may also be available for people to take.

The Assessment of surface water availability and estimates of current allocation levels October 2016 provides surface water consent allocation data that was the best known available information at the time of publication. As new water is allocated or existing consents expire and are not renewed, that data will become out of date. Over time there may also be revised estimates of flow as more science becomes available.

All new consent holders are required to accurately measure and report on their actual water use. Water metering regulations apply to all water consents >5L/s.

2020 amendments to the national Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010, require that daily water use data must be submitted electronically:

  • for all takes >20L/s by 3 September 2022
  • for all takes of 10-20L/s by 3 September 2024
  • for all takes of 5-10L/sec by 3 September 2026.

For more information see:

Groundwater allocation map tool

WARNING: Information displayed on these maps is indicative only.

Information presented in this map tool is for the purpose of general guidance only.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has made every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of this map tool. However to the maximum extent permitted by law the Bay of Plenty Regional Council makes no representations or warranties (express or implied) about its accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council excludes and disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damage) and costs which you might incur as a direct or indirect result of the tool being inaccurate or incomplete in any way or for any reason.

Over time there may be revised estimates of the amount of water that is allocated to be taken and the allocation limits (the amount of resource use available). The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the Tool is updated promptly to reflect the revised estimates. If you are considering applying to take groundwater from a particular source you should contact the Bay of Plenty Regional Council directly to request the most up to date information available.

By using this application you are acknowledging you have read and understood the above disclaimers and will not hold BOPRC the Bay of Plenty Regional Council liable for any loss incurred through misuse of the following data.

The allocation accounting tool used to generate the map is regularly updated from our resource consents database. It produces maps and information that show estimates of how much water is currently allocated. Current allocation is calculated by summing the annual volume (cubic metres per year) allocated via resource consents to take water in each of the respective water groundwater management zones. There are known limitations in the data used to prepare these accounts. Where a resource consent does not specify an annual allocation it is estimated based on the daily volume being taken for a set number of days per annum. The map and information show indicative allocations and cannot be relied solely on to determine actual allocations.

The level of allocation shown on the map does not include:

  1. Takes for stock drinking water and domestic needs under Section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
  2. Takes that can be undertaken as a permitted activity without a resource consent in accordance with rules in the Regional Natural Resources Plan.
  3. Resource consent applications to take or divert water that have been lodged but not determined.

This means that in some areas the actual amount of water that is being taken may exceed what is displayed.

Although care has been taken to prepare these maps and information there may still be errors. Please advise Bay of Plenty Regional Council if you have concerns or suspicions that the information presented contains errors.