The Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) project aims to inject water from the Waipaoa River into the Makauri aquifer for use on 3000 hectares of irrigated horticultural farmland. Once complete, the trial will show if it's possible to increase water in the aquifer with minimal impact on water quality and the environment.
The Makauri aquifer is the largest underneath the Poverty Bay Flats, extending from Kaiteratahi down to Makaraka and spanning both sides of the Waipaoa River.
The trial began in 2017, jointly funded by Council, Ministry for Primary Industries and Eastland Community Trust. During the trial 75,000m3 of water was successfully injected into the aquifer.
Funding and resource consent has been approved for Council to proceed with stage 2 of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) at the Makauri aquifer.
Stage 2 of the trial will fully investigate potential risks and inject up to 360,000m3 from the Waipaoa River into the aquifer.
As part of the resource consent and ECT funding conditions, Council is engaging with Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust around the development of a cultural impact assessment.
A Mauri Compass assessment of the trial will be undertaken as part of the cultural framework agreed with Te Aitanga a Mahaki.
The injection trial will start In Autumn 2019 when river flows are greater than 4000 l/s. The project team will continue to progress science studies and preliminary site work in the coming months to support the trial and understand potential impacts.
The Provincial Growth Fund has granted $542,000 towards it and the Eastland Community Trust will contribute a further $448,500. Combined with council funding of $160,000 in the Long Term Plan, stage 2 of the trial is now fully-funded.