Environment Waikato has granted a resource consent for a Maramarua farmer to take groundwater to irrigate pasture.
Applicants JGJ and IM Newsome applied to take up to 456 cubic metres of groundwater per day for pasture irrigation near Kopuku Road, Maramarua. Nine submissions were received from neighbours.
The Newsomes own a 113 ha dairy farm and want to take ground water for pasture irrigation to enhance productivity. The well is 99 metres deep, and the owners anticipate that water will be required for 120 days each irrigation season. A sprinkler would be used to apply the water.
Submitters were mainly concerned that the water take would seriously affect water supply on their properties and that the amount was excessive for pasture irrigation.
Environment Waikato staff said interference effects on other users of the groundwater resource would be minor and the take was considered sustainable. Staff also said water quality was unlikely to be adversely affected in any way and that a consent term of 10 years was considered appropriate.
The Committee questioned whether it was sufficient to only monitor wells located on the applicant’s property and not on neighbouring properties.
The Committee said that abstracting water for an irrigation supply from a greywacke aquifer was unusual and challenging. However it was satisfied that shallow ground water supplies, springs and surface water supplies were unlikely to be affected, it said.
Given the lack of empirical data defining interference effects, uncertainties in the pumping test data provided by the applicant and the fact that the greywacke aquifer was strongly boundary affected, the Committee said it had taken a precautionary approach.
Pumping would be restricted to 120 days and the annual volume restricted, with the consent granted for a term of 10 years.