Search all sites near me now
Search your favourite swimming spots

Northland region

Water Quantity

Northland has an extensive network of rivers and streams with over 1,400 individual source to sea catchments.   Northland's narrow land mass means most rivers are relatively small and short run catchments reflecting the varying topography and geology.   Northland has relatively high rainfall during the autumn and winter, with prolonged dry spells during summer.   This seasonal rainfall can lead to very low flows in smaller catchments while other catchments maintain a  relatively high base flows due to groundwater.  Northland's rivers and streams provide habitat for a range of indigenous flora and fauna, as well as being an important water supply for communities, horticulture, agricultural, and industrial demands.

Several of Northland’s catchments have relatively high levels of allocation for a variety of consumptive uses.  The Council is required to balance demand for water resources with the need to safeguard the life-supporting capacity of aquatic ecosystems and provide for other important environmental bottom lines.  Historically the Council has had policy requiring maintenance of instream flow, however this policy is not absolute and lesser flows have been regularly set.  The current plan has no allocation limits.  The Council’s Water and Soil Plan is currently being reviewed and through this process the absence of limits will be addressed along with ensuring compliance with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Regional Summary
Water quantity data in this region

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


Rainfall {{waterAvailable.rainfall}} Runoff to sea {{waterAvailable.runoff}} Groundwater available: {{waterSource.groundwater}}
{{waterSource.groundwaterPercentAvailable}}% of total available
Surface Water available: {{waterSource.surfacewater}}
{{waterSource.surfacewaterPercentAvailable}}% of total available
Town supply
  • How much water is there in this region?

    Rainfall and runoff in this region

    Show Hide

    Rainfall and runoff

    Relative Volume 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 region receives each year and how much of that flows out to sea. These are approximate figures only.

  • Water consents: where does water come from?

    The split between surface water and groundwater

    Show Hide

    Consented water by source

    Relative volumes
    Amount available to consent Surface water:
    available to consent
    available to consent
    Volume consented Surface water:
    volume consented
    volume consented
    Source Amount available to consent Volume consented Consented as a percentage of available
    surface water ground water {{item.source}} {{item.amountAvailable}} {{item.volumeConsented}} {{item.percentageConsented}}
    {{}} {{}} {{}} {{}}

    The table above shows how much water is available to use compared with the amount that is actually consented for use. It also shows how much of this water is surface water and how much is groundwater.

    The Northland Regional Council is in the process of establishing allocation limits.  Until such time as allocation limits are set, water availability can not be accurately reported.

  • Water consents: How is water used?

    Consents by use in this region

    Show Hide

    Annual consented water use by type

    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}} {{item.numberOfConsents}}
    Total {{}}% {{}} {{}}

    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}}/year is consented for hydro-electricity and makes up {{hydroUsage.percentageConsented}}% of the total water volume consented for this region/management zone

    Please Note:  The Northland Regional Council is in the process of updating their reporting services.  Until such time annual figures will differ from  their SoE report.

    Consents displaying 1111.00 m3/year (map on left handside), are being used as placeholders until such data is updated via the new reporting services in the near future.

Surface Water Zones Groundwater Zones
Groundwater management zones in the Northland region

Select the groundwater management zone you'd like to see information on by clicking the buttons below or navigate using the map.