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Hawke's Bay region

Surface Water Zone: Wairoa (Northern)

The Wairoa River is in the northern part of the Hawke’s Bay region and, with an area of 3,563 km2, is Hawke’s Bay’s largest catchment.

Surface waters in the catchment are not subject to allocation pressure (under 50% allocated). The catchment land is a mix of farming, forestry and bush cover. The climate in the upper Wairoa catchment is characterised by extremely high rainfall and cool temperatures while the lower catchment has a warmer, drier climate. The upper boundaries of this large catchment lie in the indigenous forest of Te Urewera National Park.

The main tributaries of the Wairoa in the west and north-west are the Waiau River, the Waikaretaheke River draining Lake Waikaremoana, the Mangaaruhe River, and the Ruakituri River. The main tributaries on the eastern side of the catchment are the Hangaroa and Mangapoike rivers. Wairoa River is formed by the confluence of the Hangaroa and the Ruakituri rivers at Te Reinga Falls, and it flows 65 km to drain into the sea near Wairoa township. Mean annual flow is 65.545 cumecs.

The Wairoa catchment is dominated by fine, soft sedimentary geology – sandstone and siltstone. The exception is the Waiau River in the farthest north-western part of the region, which has its sources in hard sedimentary greywacke and argillite. Only some small tributaries in the area of the Wairoa River mouth have alluvial deposits of gravels, sand and mud. The high amount of rainfall and comparably low infiltration rate in this catchment result in relatively low base flows, and an increased incidence of floods.

Water Use
Surface Water in this Zone

Regional councils collect information about how much water is available and manage resource consents for those wishing to take water from rivers and streams. Use the buttons below to view information on: how much water is available, where it comes from and how its used.


Rainfall {{waterAvailable.rainfall}} Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}} Surface Water available: {{waterSource.availableToAllocate}} Irrigation
Town supply
  • How much surface water is there in this zone?

    Rainfall and flow in this surface water zone

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    Rainfall and runoff

    Relative breakdown Source Volume
    Rainfall total:
    {{waterAvailable.rainfall }}
    rainfall Rainfall Total {{waterAvailable.rainfall}}
    Runoff total:
    {{waterAvailable.runoff }}
    runoff Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}}

    The table above shows the average amount of rainfall the water management zone receives each year and how much of that flows out to sea. These are approximate figures only.

  • Water consents: How much water is consented and used?

    Surface water available to consent

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    Consented water in this surface water zone

    Use the tables below to look at how much water is available compared with how much is actually consented within this water management zone. Click the plus to expand subzones where available

    Comparing consents and use
    Amount available to consent In this surface water management zone:
    {{}} {{}}
    available to consent
    Amount consented
    measured and non measured
    Amount used (measured)
    Amount Units Consented or used as a percentage of available
    Total available to consent {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total consented {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total consented and measured {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total measured amount used {{}} {{}} {{}}
    Total measured volume used {{}} {{}}

    The table above shows the amount of water that is available for use compared to the amount that has been consented. The ‘Total Consented’ and ‘Total Consented and Measured’ fields are based on percentages of the ‘Total available to Consent’ field. If this field is not populated no data will be displayed. Some consents require actual use to be monitored and this is presented as 'Total measured volume Used' where available.

  • Water consents: How is consented water used?

    Consents by use in this surface water zone

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    Consented water

    Overall annual volume for {{waterAvailable.year}}
    Relative breakdown
    Activity Percentage of total consented Total volume Number of consents
    {{item.displayText}} {{item.displayText}} - - No data available {{item.breakdownPercentage}}% {{item.totalVolume}} m3 {{item.numberOfConsents}}
    Total {{}}% {{}} m3 {{}}

    The above table shows the proportion of water consented for irrigation, industrial, stock, town supply and other. It excludes hydro electricity. In this region/management zone {{hydroUsage.totalVolume}} m3/year is consented for hydro-electricity and makes up {{hydroUsage.percentageConsented}}% of the total water volume consented for this region/management zone


Monitored sites in this Zone

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