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Wellington Region

Surface Water Zone: Wellington Harbour and Hutt Valley

The Wellington Harbour and Hutt Valley Surface Water Zone lies in the southwestern part of the Wellington Region and is home to about 70 percent of the region's population. It takes in Wellington, Upper Hutt and Hutt cities and occupies an area of 1,183 square kilometres (14 percent of the region). 

This zone comprises three water resource units in the southwestern part of the region that are neighbours but hydrologically discrete from one another.

The first area comprises the collective catchment of streams that drain the hills around Wellington city into the harbour as well as the open sea. Consents for abstractions are limited to minor takes for golf courses and short term abstractions for large earth works projects (e.g. windfarms). The greatest pressures on streams in this zone relate to runoff from urban and low intensity farming areas as well as the heavy modification of stream channels in the city suburbs.

On the opposite side of Wellington Harbour are the Wainuiomata and Orongorongo river catchments. These neighbouring catchments drain the Rimutaka and Orongorongo ranges, respectively, in a north-south direction and discharge to the Cook Strait. Both are subject to significant river abstractions in their headwaters for municipal supply. The Orongorongo River catchment lies entirely within the Department of Conservation estate and is therefore not subject to any further abstraction pressure beyond the municipal take. 

The most prominent water resource in this zone is the Hutt River and its associated aquifer system underlying the Hutt Valley. The Hutt River is the third largest in the region (after the Ruamahanga and Ōtaki rivers) and is subject to the largest run-of-river individual abstraction. This abstraction occurs in the headwaters and forms the majority of the municipal supply to Wellington and Porirua cities. Several significant tributary rivers join the Hutt River downstream of the abstraction such that the initial flow depletion is regained to an extent.

Management of water resources in the Hutt Valley is focussed on treating surface and groundwater as a single, connected system.

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.

    Total run-off to sea has been estimated by aggregating mean flow statistics from the River Environment Classification (developed by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research). 

  • 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.

    Values for water availability have not yet been provided. Greater Wellington Regional Council is in the process (as at June 2015) of notifying a new Regional Plan that will contain proposed allocation limits.  When this Plan is notified the proposed limits will be used to update the empty fields.

  • 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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