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Additional water sources for Morrinsville

We currently provide clean, healthy drinking water to Matamata, Morrinsville, Te Aroha, Te Poi, Tahuna, Hinuera and Te Aroha West.

As we plan ahead and face challenges such as changing weather patterns and more frequent droughts, we are focusing on maintaining our infrastructure, making improvements to comply with tougher water regulations, and ensuring our infrastructure can cater for growth.

We believe most of our water supplies are sufficient for current and future needs, however, Morrinsville needs improvement to meet growing demand, and ensure there is enough water for essential use (like drinking and hygiene) all year round. 

It’s important to note that these improvements in Morrinsville (and minor improvements in our other water supplies) won’t mean that there aren’t water restrictions in summer.

It’s easy to take water for granted but it’s a precious resource. It’s getting harder for us to get consent to take water, and there are limits on how much we can take – so even with increased capacity in the system, it’s likely that water restrictions will still be needed in future. We need everyone to work together to use the water we have wisely, all year round.

What's in the draft budget – provide two additional water sources for Morrinsville

In response to the extreme drought in 2020, we brought forward plans for two new water supplies for Morrinsville.

It takes time to get consents, install bores, and water treatment plants to increase our current water supply – but the two new bores for Morrinsville will be complete in 2021/22 (Wisely Park bore) and 2024/25 (Lockerbie bore).

Once the bores are complete, we can access them as an emergency supply (e.g. during a drought).

We then plan to build two additional water treatment plants – one at Lockerbie, from 2021/22 - 2024/25, costing $4.7 million, and another at Wisely Park in 2023/24, costing $1.6 million.

These new plants will treat the water from the new bores, and supply water to the northern side of Morrinsville.

These bores and plants will provide enough water in the future to support the town’s growth, and ensure there is enough water for essential use all year round.

Morrinsville currently relies on one water source for the whole town, so these additional supplies will also make the town’s water more resilient - for example,if an earthquake damaged the main pipeline, the other supplies would ensure the town still had access to water.

We’re also working toward a third additional supply just outside of the ten years (budgeted at $1.9 million including inflation), because we expect Regional Council to impose tougher limits on how much water we can take from our main water source, and the main pipeline is nearing the end of its life.

What will it cost?

The proposals would cost $6 million. This project would only impact targeted rates for water – so only people who are connected to the water supply would pay.

 Rates impact Average per year 2021/22- 2030/31 
 $550,000 urban property (connected) $65.03 
 $8 million rural property (not connected) No impact 
 Debt impact - increase by $6.3 million by 2024/25 including inflation 

Another option - provide one additional water source for Morrinsville

We could provide an additional water source for Morrinsville and slightly increase the treatment capacity. This means we would only bring on Wisely Park bore (which is partially complete) and not making further improvements. Due to the water reforms, these assets may not be owned and operated by Council in the future, so we could take a “not our problem” approach, and delay investment in this infrastructure. While this would be an easy option, we don’t think it is a responsible idea and would potentially increase water restrictions over summer.

What will this option cost?

Cost would be $1.6 million.

 Rates impact Average per year 2023/24- 2030/31 
 $550,000 urban property (connected) $23.49 
 $8 million rural property (not connected) No impact 
 Debt impact - increase by $1.6 million by 2023/24 including inflation 


Water Reform

An added challenge in this space is the water reform currently underway in New Zealand. The government proposes to develop a new, regional model delivering water services across the country.

This will possibly mean a new entity will own and operate water, stormwater and wastewater services (not Council).

We have entered into an agreement with the government to participate in this reform process, but we don't know when any of this will happen yet.

What we do know is that our community will always need these services, so regardless of who will own them, we are continuing to plan for future needs, maintaining our assets, and investing in improvements where they are needed. 

You can find out more about water reforms at You can also read more about our approach to these reforms in our significant forecasting assumptions.

For more information on how we plan to manage our water supplies for the next 30 years, see our Infrastructure Strategy here.