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Taranaki region

Water Quantity

Water from Taranaki's 217 parent catchments is used to supply communities and industries with freshwater, to irrigate crops and pasture and to provide water for stock and farming purposes.

Since 2003 demand for surface water for agriculture increased by 28% in the Taranaki region, while there has been a drop of 31% in the dairy manufacturing and processing industry.  Consented groundwater use on the other hand has increased almost sevenfold since 2003.

In small areas of Taranaki, surface water is nearing full allocation, and Council has increased investigations into groundwater resources. Generally, as groundwater yields are not significant in Taranaki, groundwater is considered as an additional source to surface water. It is important to manage the demand carefully to mitigate any impact on spring-fed streams, lakes and rivers; well levels; the flow of seawater into groundwater supplies; and any effects on other users.

Taranaki has four hydro-electric power schemes that have a combined consented take volume of 10,000,000 m³ per day. That is enough to fill 4,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

All of this water comes from surface water sources with the Patea Hydro-Electric Scheme being the largest of the four. It is considered a non-consumptive use as the water is returned to the river. However, there can be localised effects.

A further 587,784 m³ per day , up from 181,898 m³ per day in 2003,  is consented to be drawn from the region’s water sources (surface and groundwater) for agriculture, industry and town water supplies. This  is enough to supply the day-to-day needs of over 1.96 million people, irrigate 11,756 hectares of pasture or fill just over 235 Olympic-sized pools.

The Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 require the accurate measurement and recording of all water takes greater than 5 litres per second. As a result, a large number of industries and  irrigators now provide real-time data to the Council. This helps management of water resources in the region.

The Council's Regional Freshwater Plan is currently under review, to strengthen the framework used to determine allocation limits and manage water usage.

Regional Summary
Water quantity data in this region

Regional councils collect information about how much water is available and manage resource consents for those wishing to take water from rivers or groundwater supplies. Use the buttons below to view regional information on: how much water is available, where it comes from and how its used.


Rainfall {{waterAvailable.rainfall}} Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}} Groundwater available: {{waterSource.groundwater}}
{{waterSource.groundwaterPercentAvailable}}% of total available
Surface Water available: {{waterSource.surfacewater}}
{{waterSource.surfacewaterPercentAvailable}}% of total available
Town supply
  • How much water is there in this region?

    Rainfall and runoff in this region

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    Rainfall and runoff

    Relative Volume Source Volume
    Rainfall total:
    {{waterAvailable.rainfall }}
    rainfall Rainfall Total {{waterAvailable.rainfall}}
    Runoff total:
    {{waterAvailable.runoff }}
    runoff Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}}

    The table above shows the average amount of rainfall the region receives each year and how much of that flows out to sea. These are approximate figures only.

  • Water consents: where does water come from?

    The split between surface water and groundwater

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    Consented water by source

    Relative volumes
    Amount available to consent Surface water:
    available to consent
    available to consent
    Volume consented Surface water:
    volume consented
    volume consented
    Source Amount available to consent Volume consented Consented as a percentage of available
    surface water ground water {{item.source}} {{item.amountAvailable}} {{item.volumeConsented}} {{item.percentageConsented}}
    {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}

    The table above shows how much water is available to use compared with the amount that is actually consented for use. It also shows how much of this water is surface water and how much is groundwater.

    Due to the large number of streams and rivers in Taranaki, there has not been thorough investigations into all of the streams. The available water is ascertained as and when required for consenting requirements and investigations. However the Regional Freshwater Plan states that a minimum of two-thirds habitat at mean annual low flow is to be retained to protect the life-supporting capacity of the stream/river.

    Groundwater in Taranaki has not been extensively researched, so it is unclear how much water is available to be taken at this point in time.

  • Water consents: How is water used?

    Consents by use in this region

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    Annual consented water use by type

    Overall annual volume for {{waterAvailable.year}}
    Relative breakdown
    Activity Percentage of total consented Total volume Number of consents
    {{item.displayText}} {{item.displayText}} - - No data available {{item.breakdownPercentage}}% {{item.totalVolume}} {{item.numberOfConsents}}
    Total {{}}% {{}} {{}}

    The above table shows the proportion of water consented for irrigation, industrial, stock, town supply and other. It excludes hydro electricity. In this region/management zone {{hydroUsage.totalVolume}}/year is consented for hydro-electricity and makes up {{hydroUsage.percentageConsented}}% of the total water volume consented for this region/management zone

Surface Water Zones Groundwater Zones
Groundwater management zones in the Taranaki region

Select the groundwater management zone you'd like to see information on by clicking the buttons below or navigate using the map.