Actual Water Use

The percentage of estimated actual water used compared with the maximum allocated volume in New Zealand is around 65 per cent. However, most regions use less than 50 per cent of their allocated water. The highest percentages of actual use compared to the allocated volumes were in Gisborne (192 per cent), Southland (74 per cent) and Canterbury (57 per cent).

On the basis that allocations have been sustainably set, this highlights that there are opportunities for more efficient utilisation of allocated water in New Zealand.

Water take data is critical in providing the information needed to efficiently manage water resources. One mechanism in place is the new Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010, which will provide decision-makers with more accurate information on actual water use.

Actual water used compared to consented annual volumes (Mm3/year) for each region in 2010

Actual Water Used Compared To Consented Annual Volumes (Mm 3:year ) For Each Region In 2010


Data source: Ministry for the Environment.

Note: The figure for Gisborne suggests that actual use is almost double the consented allocation. This is because the water meter which measures the municipal consent used in this estimation, measures a combined intake from a dam and a stream for the city water supply. It is only the take from the dam that is consented. Therefore although the actual water usage appears high in Gisborne, it does not indicate that the consent limit is breached.