When river levels are low, the River Recharge Scheme means we can take water from the Waikanae River at a particular point, and top the river up with groundwater below the treatment plant. This means that we don’t use bore water in our water supply during dry times.
The river recharge scheme allows Council to take fresh water from Waikanae River for water supply, and top it up with bore groundwater downstream of the Waikanae Treatment Plant, maintaining the river's ecological balance and required minimum flow.
Council uses eight bores to draw water from the 70–90-metre-deep Waimea aquifer for the scheme, when needed.
This means the taste and quality of the water that comes out of your taps will not be affected by groundwater being added to the river, as it’s not used in our water supply.
Council has been granted a 35-year resource consent to take extra water from the aquifer for river recharge. This consent is until 2048, and means we have a secure water supply for future growth in the Waikanae, Raumati and Paraparaumu areas until 2048. After this time, Council will need to apply for a new resource consent.
The river recharge scheme:
- gives us a high-quality reliable water supply for Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati until 2048
- protects the important values of the Waikanae River, Waikanae groundwater aquifer, and coastal streams and wetlands connected to the aquifer
- is supported by tangata whenua of the Waikanae area, and contributes positively to the relationship local iwi has with the Council and river.
As part of our consent, we have a network of monitoring wells that provide ongoing information about groundwater levels and quality. Sentinel wells along the coast detect any sea water (saline) intrusion into the aquifers, which could degrade groundwater quality. If groundwater levels get too low or increased salinity is detected in the groundwater, alarms will be triggered, alerting staff to respond.
Council’s Waikanae River Recharge Project won Infrastructure Project of the Year at the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in 2014.
This award is given to the council whose infrastructure project has led to improved efficiencies and effectiveness for local businesses, residents and visitors, and has contributed to an economic or environmental benefit for their region.
You can find out more about the project on this video.