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Water permits on Poverty Bay Flats

Freshwater Plan Factsheet

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Water permits on Poverty Bay Flats

Gisborne District Council's Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP) includes rules for water permits on the Poverty Bay Flats and Waipaoa Catchment.
Water sources in these areas are fully or over-allocated during the irrigation season.

  • Te Arai River
  • Makauri aquifer
  • Matokitoki aquifer
  • Te Hapara sands aquifer
  • Waipaoa River and tributaries
  • Waipaoa shallow fluvial aquifer
  • Waipaoa gravels aquifer

This means that there's more water issued than there is available for use under the new allocation limits set in the Freshwater Plan

New water takes

  • No new permits for groundwater will be granted.
  • No new permits for the Te Arai River, Waipaoa River and its tributaries during the low-flow peak summer season (Oct-April) will be granted.
  • There’ll be a waiting list for each of these rivers and aquifers. You'll need to apply to go on the waiting list - see application form
  • New permits may be considered if water storage is part of the proposal, and water is taken outside of the low flow and peak usage times.

Renewal permits

If there’s no increase in the amount of water you want to take:

  • renewal permits have priority over new applications provided there's no increase in the amount of water sought.

When you renew, the amount allocated must match your actual needs. You’ll need to justify your water requirements and ensure water use will be efficient. This will be based on:

How we’ll fix over-allocation

There’s a large amount of “paper allocation” - when the amount of water on the permit is not being fully used.
As water permits are renewed - the amount of water allocated will be cut back to closer to actual amounts used.

This will free-up some water to be allocated to those on the waiting list, except for the Makauri and Matokitoki aquifers. Because these aquifers are declining, when we reduce the paper allocation it’s unlikely to be freed up for new permits.

Read about the managed aquifer recharge trial

Water permit transfer

Transfers of water between water users from the same waterway will be possible, but will require a permit.

The amount of water used will need to be the same or less than the existing permit.

What about the Gisborne city water supply?

The city water supply permits will have priority over other permits – but the city users need to be efficient and meet demand management requirements as well.
1. Large water users in the city will need to reduce water use and improve efficiency.
2. We’ll develop a demand management plan to reduce peak water use.


Download the fact sheet - Water permits on PB Flats or the Waipaoa Catchment [PDF, 1.5 MB] [PDF, 1.5 MB]