The Department of Conservation is appealing to the Environment Court against consents granted to take water from the Aupōuri Aquifer for avocado growing. These consents were quite controversial, as billions of litres of water a year will be taken from a Far North aquifer to feed avocado orchards. That was the main reason for the appeal by the DoC.
More than $145 million of Northland horticultural development across 24 properties on the Far North's Aupōuri Peninsula has gained consents to take more than 4.5 million cubic metres - 4,520,000,000 litres - of water each year from the underground aquifer.
Northland Regional Council on August 31 released a decision by Commissioners David Hill and Peter Callander granting the applications by 22 parties referred to as the Aupōuri Aquifer Water User Group.
Director-General of Conservation Penny Nelson, is appealing the decision. DoC Kaitaia operations manager Meirene Hardy-Birch said the department was not, in principle, against the water being taken from Aupōuri aquifer. But it was not confident around the adequacy of data and other aspects being used as the foundations for some of the critical management of the aquifer needed into the future.