National | Auckland

Waikato River not solution to Auckland's water crisis

Waikato-Tainui has launched an appeal to the High Court to challenge a Watercare consent to take millions of litres of water from its ancestral Waikato River to pump into Auckland consumers' taps.

"The disrespect toward our river has been happening for many years. We do not agree to let Auckland take more water from our river. We are saying Watercare must find other solutions to Auckland's water crisis," Te Whakakitenga chair Linda Te Aho says.

She says Waikato-Tainui's tūpuna river is being used to fix decades of failed infrastructure investment. "The appeal is very short, -we didn't like this consent right from the beginning."

Watercare chief executive Jon Lamonte said Watercare was notified late yesterday that Te Whakakitenga o Waikato had filed an appeal with the High Court. "We look forward to seeing the detail of the appeal in due course, but of course, the resolution will be a matter for the court."

But Te Aho worries that the courts "may not see this from our vision of the future of our river."

She says that vision has been ignored by Watercare despite many discussions.

"When it comes to consent to take water and the use of water, there must be greater consideration for the cultural aspects of the river."

Te Whakakitenga is appealing in part the decision of a board of inquiry dated January 21, 2022, granting to Watercare Services resource consents required under the Waikato Regional Plan to enable the taking of up to 150 million litres per day (net) of additional water from the Waikato River mainstem downstream of the Huntly Power Station mixing zone for municipal water supply purposes.