10 June 2015


 Managing freshwater allocation in Northland is a critical issue facing the regional council.  These issues are addressed as part of Northland Regional Council’s (NRC) freshwater plan, which requires them to quantify the current quality and availability of freshwater resources. This allows them to determine how much water is available for allocation for permitted activities or through the resource consent process.

Interpret developed a toolbox that  creates water allocation models that  incorporate new freshwater policy requirements and the new consenting system, IRIS, that had recently been implemented at the council.  The models needed to be easily run by users with minimal GIS experience.

The result of this work is an ArcGIS Toolbox containing a series of models that allow the user to build or collate the necessary input data, delineate Surface Water Zones, Ground Water Units and Ground Water Zones, and calculate consented and permitted water use. Each time the models are run, the latest water permit data is pulled from IRIS and used to calculate the accumulated surface and ground water takes within the relevant Water Zones/Units.

NRC are currently trialling different methods of determining suitable water allocation limits, with up to date accumulation of surface and ground water takes along with relevant water allocation limits. NRC will be able to highlight areas in Northland that may be may have over or under allocation of freshwater resources.