Te Hiku Water Study

We’re delighted to be a project partner, and co-funder, on a water research project that will improve our understanding of the Aupouri aquifer.

The Aupouri aquifer is a vital source of water underneath the Aupouri Peninsula, in the Far North. There's already a lot of knowledge about the aquifer, but there are some information gaps. So knowing more will help identify the best ways to balance the increased demand for water, droughts, and environmental protection in Te Hiku.

The study involves surveying the aquifer in mid-2021 and early 2022, using a variety of ground-based (and potentially aerial) methods. Scientists will interpret and verify the data, then use it to create models of the aquifer. Results will be available in early 2023.

About the project

The project has come from the Te Hiku community, and their strong desire to understand their water better.

After a feasibility study funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, and in response to increased water demand and recent droughts, the local community wanted improved data on the aquifer. This became part of Aqua Intel Aotearoa’s water studies in Northland.

The goal is to improve our understanding of:

  • what the aquifer looks like (eg. depth, extent, geology)
  • how the aquifer connects to wetlands, lakes and streams
  • the meeting point between groundwater and sea water (risk areas for salt-water intrusion)
  • how groundwater recharges.

We will never know everything about the aquifer, but this study will give us a better understanding of it. Getting an initial idea of where the most productive water sources are will guide:

  • environmental protection
  • sustainable economic growth and development
  • Northland Regional Council’s resource consents for groundwater and water management
  • water supply availability for the local community.

Who’s supporting the work?

The $3.3 million research project is largely funded through Aqua Intel Aotearoa, a national study programme on regional water availability and storage. It’s a collaboration between the Provincial Growth Fund (through their delivery arm, Kānoa) and GNS Science. Co-funding organisations are Northland Regional Council, Far North District Council, NgaiTakoto and Te Aupouri.

Aqua Intel Aotearoa is doing the mahi, and a local project team oversees the study.

The project partners are:

For more information on the project, visit www.aquaintel.co.nz