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Waikato region

Surface Water Zone: Waikato River at mouth

The Waikato River is the longest river in New Zealand. It starts its journey in the central North Island volcanic zone and flows into Lake Taupō. From there it continues its journey north where it flows into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato. The catchment area is approximately 14456 square kilometres. The main stem of the river is 336km long, with about 22478km of tributaries. The catchment consists of moderately steep through to undulating topography, and the river passes through predominantly pasture, with areas of indigenous forest and plantation forest.

The two main branches of the Waikato River, the Waikato and the Waipā, meet up to form one river in Ngaruawahia. At approximately 3092 square kilometres, the Waipā catchment is the largest tributary of the Waikato River and is defined by its limestone karst geology and rolling hills. A large part of the catchment is pasture and the majority of the water is sourced from hills and flat, undulated landscape from the west and south.

Another sub-catchment in the region, the Karapiro, includes Lake Taupō and is approximately 7829 square kilometres. On its journey from Mt Ruapehu to Lake Karapiro the main branch of the river flows through eight hydrodams that help manage water and generate electricity.

Surface water along the Waikato River is in high demand. The river provides water to Auckland and Hamilton cities as well as to large industries for electricity generation, mining and timber processing.

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

    Waikato Regional Council is currently unable to provide resource consent data at a water management zone level. They are working on this and will update the site soon. 


Monitored sites in this Zone

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