A decision to grant a replacement resource consent for groundwater take to provide for horticultural irrigation has angered local hapu in Poroti.
The Northland Regional Council has given the okay to Kohatu Limited to take 499cu m of water daily from an area located about 430 metres from an unnamed tributary of the Okoihu stream.
Kohatu Ltd applied for an early replacement resource consent despite the existing one that allows for 500cu m of water take daily expiring in 2024.
The consent was non-notified.
NRC said the water take was unlikely to result in any adverse effects on groundwater users beyond a 500 metre radius.
The nearest neighbouring bore is about 550 meters away and there has been no recorded issues with this take by other bore users, it said.
Poroti Springs are of significant cultural value to local hapu, known as the Whatitiri Resource Management Unit, but NRC said Kohatu's water take was in an area of the aquifer that was outside the contributing groundwater zone for the spring and the Waipoa stream.
"Therefore, no physical effect on the springs flows will occur as a result of this take."
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But Poroti Springs environment coordinator Millan Ruka said his hapu was hugely disappointed at not being notified about Kohatu's application as his members owned customary rights for the aquifer that provided 20 per cent of the city's water supply.
"What the consenting process shows is it doesn't matter what our rights are, we have no say. The government is trying to conserve water, there's a lot of push back from farmers and the horticulture sector yet we are not legally notified.
"The NRC is circumventing due care for water. We need to treat water better. The hapu needs to be treated as a consent holder," Ruka said.
He said Kohatu's decision to reduce the daily water take by 1cu m was a "cheeky ploy" to secure an extension.
NRC group manager regulatory services Colin Dall said the council followed steps set out in the Resource Management Act 1991 in making decisions on the scale of effects of a resource consent application and for determining persons affected by it when processing Kohatu's application.
"Therefore, the council has followed due process in determining that the application did not need to be notified," he said.