Avoid Water Trouble

To avoid costly mistakes when drilling for water - get advice from a groundwater specialist first and know your legal rights.

"What's up Dad?" Pebbles, asks Freddy one afternoon.

"I think the old water bore's running dry," replies Freddy. "It's been looking likely for a while and I'd better do something about it before it's too late. I just remember the palaver when we put the current bore in. I spent a fortune on some cowboy driller trying to find groundwater before he finally struck it lucky."

"Well, we obviously don't want a repeat of that performance," noted Pebbles. "I presume you'll talk to a groundwater specialist this time, rather than just relying on your Grandpa's old divining rod? And there are also some legal issues to be aware of."

"No surprises there," grunts Freddy. "Please, go ahead, enlighten me."

"Well, a good place to start is the Taranaki Regional Council's regional freshwater plan. It regulates the use of groundwater as well as surface water sources."

Pebbles explains to Freddy that the plan deals with both the drilling and construction of bores, and with taking water from a bore.

Bore drilling and construction is a permitted activity under the freshwater plan, provided you meet certain conditions. The principal conditions relate to where the bore is relative to rivers or lakes, the coastline, other bores or effluent ponds and the like. If you meet the conditions, you don't need a resource consent.

Bores also have to be cased and sealed to prevent leaks or the risk of cross-contamination.

"The best way of doing this," explains Pebbles, "is to ensure that your bore is drilled and constructed to meet the standards set out in NZS4411:2001."

"The rules about taking water from a bore relate to the location of the bore, but also to the amount of water you take daily, and the rate at which you take it. Again, if you comply with the conditions in the plan, taking water is a permitted activity for which no consent is required."

"That doesn't sound too difficult" replies Freddy, "provided that I can find any of the stuff in the first place. The problem is that I want the bore to be near the cow-shed, which is near the effluent pond and the existing bore. So I might need a consent. How would I go about getting one?"

"Well Dad, with careful positioning of the new bore, you might actually be able to avoid the need for a consent at all. And if you do need a consent, the regional council's requirements will depend on exactly what you want to do - for example, the more water you want to take, the more onerous the environmental impact assessment is likely to be."

"That's why you should talk to the regional council and a groundwater specialist before you bring in a contractor to start drilling. Otherwise you might end up spending money like water, but not have any drop to drink."


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.
If you would like further information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.
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