Water User Groups

Water User Groups are increasingly involved in day to day management of water resources. In New Zealand, virtually all use of natural water is regulated and a Resource Consent must be held to take, use or discharge into water. In many areas however, the responsibility for managing groups of water takes is being devolved to the users, via Water User Groups.  These groups have a range of organisational structures, rules and methods of operating. Page Bloomer Associates are currently working with Water User Groups in the Ngaruroro and Ruataniwha areas to investigate how the groups might take an enhanced role in ensuring water takes are fairly and efficiently shared, especially at times of low availability. Fundamental to this is ensuring the in-stream minimum flows are maintained to ensure healthy eco-systems.  Funding support is being provided by the Ministry for the Environment's Sustainable Management Fund, and by Hawke's Bay Regional Council. In each case, the Water User Group members have individual resource consents to take water for irrigation. They have set take rates, and set maximum take volumes but must cease all taking if the river flows drop below defined levels. The first stage of the work programme  is a survey of consent holders to identify their awareness of and interest in Water User Group activites to share water. Each consent holder has been mailed a copy of the survey form. Copies of the Survey as printable pdf files are available here> Ngaruroro Questionnaire (120kb pdf) Ruataniwha Questionnaire (120kb pdf) Electronic versions in simple spreadsheet format are available here> Ngaruroro Questionnaire (50kb spreadsheet) Ruataniwha Questionnaire (50kb spreadsheet)

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