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Great Things Grow Here – But They Need Water

Great Things Grow Here – But They Need Water. With the Ruataniwha Dam project falling over in August 2017 many Central Hawke’s Bay farmers believe their only real alternative for securing irrigation water is on-farm or small community storages, given the premise that groundwater systems will soon be or are already over allocated.

However, I would challenge you to consider – why build water storage and reticulation infrastructure when water storage and transmission is naturally available. What I’m talking about is Aquifer Storage and Recover, the basic concept being:

• Harvest high flows from a suitable stream or river – mainly in winter;

• Remove sediment through small pond and artificial wetland treatment system;

• Inject the water in a suitably deep and permeable aquifer;

• Recover the water from the aquifer for irrigation in summer.

I said in 2010 prior to the building of the Central Plains Water Scheme that there was a cheaper alternative to piped reticulation schemes, but that scheme was fully committed and the propellants were not interested in alternatives at the time (see 2010 article at However, their neighbours were listening and are currently investigating managed aquifer recharge in the Hinds catchment to name one. Managed aquifer recharge is also being investigated to support horticulture and agriculture irrigation in the Gisborne District.

You have just got to be smart about how you manage aquifer storage and keep it replenished, which requires a robust hydrogeological understanding of the flow dynamics of the aquifer systems.

How Can I help You?

• Technical advice - You will need to know whether your proposal is technical viable. Each location is different. Using the hydrology and hydrogeological expertise of my team, we can provide early advice before committing significant expenditure;

• Environmental effects assessment – Using sophisticated three-dimensional computer models we will design your system and test the environmental effects;

• Resource consent – We can prepare your resource consents to take surface water during high flows, build a small pond and wetland system, inject and abstract water from an aquifer.

• Design details – Working with other specialists such as geotechnical, mechanical and electrical engineers, we will provide the full design solution.

The devil is in the detail so pick up the phone and call me today to discuss your situation.

Contact Me

Jon Williamson at Williamson Water Advisory (WWA) on 021-65-4422 and review our credentials at

Track Record Of Securing Water

Far North (2018) – acting on behalf of the Motutangi-Waiharara Water Users Group WWA successfully obtained resource consent for the 17 avocado orchardists to abstract water from a shell bed aquifer some 80-120 m below the surface.

Lower Ruamahanga (2017) – acting on behalf of the Wairarapa Water Users Group WWA successfully argued through evidence presented on the proposal Natural Resources Plan that not all of the aquifers were directly connected to surface waters and therefore should be subjected to the same restrictions as surface water.

Upper Waikato (2008) – acting on behalf of a large farming estate, my evidence at the Variation 6 Water Allocation Plan Change hearings was fundamental in securing an additional 3.5 m3/s of allocation from the Waikato River.

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