Avocado growers and other Far North landowners have been granted a controversial permission to take millions of cubic metres of water from an aquifer. Locals fear this decision could be very detrimental to the region, but commissioners said monitoring would ensure any adverse effects could be avoided.
The 22 landowners, known as the Aupōuri Aquifer Water User Group, applied to the Northland Regional Council in 2019, initially to take 6.2 million cubic metres of water a year. On Wednesday, independent commissioners David Hill and Peter Callander granted a total of 4.5 mln cubic metres a year from Aupōuri Aquifer for twelve years. They claimed that while the total amount of water was a large quantity, the evidence showed it was a sustainable amount and relatively small compared with the water in the aquifer.
Despite notification being limited, more than 92 submitters opposed the consents, with key issues including the long-term impacts on the aquifer like salt water intrusion, ecological impacts and cultural considerations.