Waikato River Authority opposes proposed water take for Auckland 

The Waikato River Authority says it opposes the Watercare Services Ltd application to take more water from the Waikato River which is to be considered by a special Board of Inquiry. 

The Authority’s submission opposes the proposed water take on the basis that it fails to adequately consider the restoration and protection of the Waikato River as determined by Te Ture Whaimana (Vision & Strategy). The Vision and Strategy is the primary direction setting document for the Waikato and Waipā rivers, and all activities that affect the catchment. 

River Iwi Co-Chair Tipa Mahuta and Crown Co-Chair Paula Southgate say the Authority is also concerned about future water security for growing communities along the length of Waikato River, should the water take be successful, which is something Watercare has not satisfactorily addressed in its application. 

“It is sad to realise in the last 80 years the Waikato River has significantly degraded. The Waikato River Authority has been trying to address that and in more recent years has spent $50 million on restoration activities and advocating on behalf of the river,” says Paula Southgate. 

Tipa Mahuta says Te Ture Whaimana is quite clear in what it expects for the river. 

“If you are thinking about the river as a resource, you also need to be thinking about how you will be making the river better. What the Authority is asking is how is the Waikato River going to be better by Auckland taking up to 300 million litres per day? 

Another matter of concern to the Waikato River Authority is the effects of Climate Change. We would expect this to be addressed by Watercare in its application. Climate Change is likely to be yet another stress and demand on the Waikato River,” she says. 

In June last year, the Minister for the Environment “called in” Auckland’s application to take more water from the Waikato River, deeming it to be a proposal of national significance under the Resource Management Act 1991 and referring it to a Board of Inquiry for decision. Submissions to the hearing close today (26 March 2021). 

 The full submission can be found on the Authority’s website  or at this direct link