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Manawatu-Wanganui region

Groundwater Zone: Manawatu Groundwater MZ

The Manawatu GMZ hosts the largest proportion of the Region's wells and is extensively used for municipal, industrial, agricultural and domestic water supply. The total area of the Manawatu GMZ is 2,683 square km, extending from the central ranges through the Oroua and Pohangina Valley's and across the Manawatu plains to the Manawatu Estuary at Foxton Beach. Groundwater readily flows through a sequence of Quaternary sediments towards the coast, with vertical movement limited by interbedded silts and clays. Preferential flow occurs through moderate-high yielding gravel and sand lenses throughout the basin. The estimated recharge of this zone is 699 million cubic meters per year

The interbedded nature of the stratigraphy and structural features such as faults and folds, result in significant variability in the spatial distribution of water-bearing zones of the Manawatu-Whanganui Basin. Generally, wells are reasonably productive and in most areas, trends in groundwater level have remained stable or increased since 2005. Localised areas of the Manawatu GMZ such as Whakarongo on the northern outskirts of Palmerston North, and Opiki to the south of the city, have shown previous signs of pressure, particularly during phases of rapid development. However, in recent years, many of these previously declining trends have since stabilised. Overall, groundwater demand throughout the Manawatu Basin does not exceed recharge and there is opportunity for further development throughout most of this zone.

Water Use
Groundwater in this zone

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


Groundwater available: {{waterSource.availableToAllocate}} Irrigation
Town supply
  • Groundwater in this zone
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    Groundwater in this zone

    Accurately estimating the total amount of water available in a groundwater management zone is not currently possible. Regional Councils are working with the Ministry for the Environment on the best way to calculate this figure. We will include these figures on LAWA when they become available. In the meantime, for more information about a particular groundwater management zone, contact your regional council.

    Total allocation is calculated as Daily Max Volume over 100 days for irrigation takes and Max Daily Volume over 365 days for all other uses. Estimated Annual Allocated Volume (EAAV) is calculated to determine a conservative maximum usage that may occur in a dry year and assumes that (1) for consents authorising abstraction during the irrigation season the EAAV can be calculated by assuming that, on average over a year, water is used for 100 days at 80% of the maximum consented daily abstraction rate; and (2) for consents for full year abstractions, the EAAV can be calculated by assuming that, over a year, water is used for 365 days a year at 50% of the maximum volume.

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

    Groundwater available to consent

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    Consented water in this groundwater 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 groundwater 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 groundwater zone

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    Consented water in this zone

    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

    Allocation for existing hydroelectricity generation is excluded because, while it is still part of the overall allocation framework, it sits outside of the core allocation limits (i.e. the core allocation limits were set after the existing hydroelectricity take volumes).


Monitored sites in this Zone

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