Community & Environment

Hamilton confirms ‘conditional opposition’ to Watercare consent applications

Hamilton City Council will ‘conditionally oppose’ Watercare’s request to take more water from the Waikato River.

The decision was made at a formal Council meeting yesterday. It will enable the city to address the Board of Enquiry set up to consider issues around Auckland’s water shortage.

Watercare has applied to take a further 150 million litres of water per day from the Waikato River. The application was originally made to the Waikato Regional Council but was referred to a Board of Enquiry in June 2020. Submissions to the Board of Enquiry opened last month.

Hamilton already takes water from the Waikato River to look after its 180,000 residents. The city’s current consent for water ends in 2044 and staff and Councillors are concerned an increased take for Auckland could impact Hamilton’s ability to access water in the future.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said Council’s position of conditional opposition will allow Hamilton to have “a voice at the table” as part of the Board of Enquiry process.

“We have to put our city first and ensure Hamilton’s interests are also well looked after in this process. Auckland, like every other centre in New Zealand, must consider the future sustainability of its water supply. Water is gold and the Waikato River can’t be all things to all people,” she said.

“This is a case of us all working through the issues Auckland faces together so we get the best possible outcome.”

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