Media Release January 24, 2022

More focus on the river with Watercare decision

The decision to allow Auckland’s Watercare to take additional water from the Waikato River for the next 20 years will also mean more resources to improve the wellbeing of the river.

A specially established Board of Inquiry called to consider the matter, decided that Watercare can take up to 300 million litres of water a day from the Waikato River to supply Auckland. The Waikato River Authority opposed the additional water being taken from the river.

Waikato River Authority Iwi Co-Chair Tipa Mahuta, says while it is disappointing the consent has been approved by the Board of Inquiry, the decision reaffirms that those using the river as a resource, must put the river first.

The Board of Inquiry decision was clear that any Waikato River resource users must provide betterment for the river rather than just seek to mitigate any effects that a resource activity may have on the river.

The Board of Inquiry decision also requires Auckland’s Watercare to make an annual payment of $2 million towards river restoration. The payment will be administered by the Waikato River Authority as part of its yearly funding, and will be allocated to restoration projects within the Waikato River catchment on a contestable basis.  

Deputy Crown Co-Chair Dylan Tahau says the fact the $2 million will come to the Waikato River Authority shows confidence in the effective way the Authority has gone about funding clean-up projects over the past ten years.

The Watercare application sought to take additional water for the next 35 years but was instead granted for 20 years. 

The Waikato River Authority will review the Board of Inquiry decision over the coming days and decide whether it will lodge an appeal.


The river restoration funds from Watercare will be paid to the Waikato River Clean-up Trust, of which the Waikato River Authority is the sole Trustee.