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7.0 Economic Value of Groundwater Aquifers


New Zealand Water Bodies of National Importance for Domestic Use and Industrial Use

P A White, B M H Sharp and R R Reeves, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences
[ Originally Published on 01 Mar 2004 ]


7.1 Domestic

The estimated economic value of the Christchurch-West Melton system is the largest of aquifers, at around $60 million/year (Table 25). The Heretaunga Plains, at around $20 million/year, is second largest. Estimated economic values in all the aquifer systems (the aquifers with the 100-largest economic value are listed in Appendix 13) sum to around $199 million/year.

Table 25: Groundwater Aquifers and Domestic Usewater - Estimated Annual Allocation and Economic Value for the 20 Aquifers of the Largest Value
GNS aquiferCouncilTotal of weekly allocation
(m³/week)
Domestic water Economic value
$million/yr
Christchurch-West MeltonCRC337425560
Heretaunga PlainsHBRC110079220
HuttWRC96301117
Ashley DownsCRC4933119
Central PlainsCRC4181278
Auckland volcanicsARC4229217
Rangitata-Levels plainsCRC3421387
Central OtagoORC3437696
ManawatuHMW3423776
Lower Taieri Plain - East and WestORC3009236
Upper Wairau ValleyMDC2807845
Mamaku PlateauEBOP2606245
Rakaia-Ashburton plainsCRC2499014
Coromandel volcanicEW2285434
WanganuiHMW1860393
Upper ConfinedTDC1858033
Whakamuru IgnimbritesEW1691343
Rangitaiki Plains (assumes shallow system)EBOP1296823
Raumati-PaekakarikiWRC1213902
Coastal aquifersSRC1141712

7.2 Industry

Use of groundwater aquifers by industry has the largest economic value in the Christchurch-West Melton aquifer system (Table 26). Estimated economic values in all the aquifer systems (the aquifers with the 100-largest economic value are listed in Appendix 14) sum to $11419 million/year.

A considerable portion of the estimated economic value of groundwater use by industry is associated water supply from municipal supplies. For example, in the Christchurch/West Melton system an estimated $1298 million/year of economic value (of a total of $2328 million/year) comes from estimated use of municipal supply by industrial users. The second-largest aquifer of economic value for industry is the Heretaunga Plains, with an estimated water value of approximately $1079million/year.

Table 26: Groundwater Aquifers Use by Industry - Estimated Annual Allocation and Economic Value for the 20 Aquifers of the Largest Value
RankGNS aquifer nameCouncilAllocation to industry and industrial part of mun1 (m³/wk)Economic value industrial allocation only $million/yrEconomic value industrial part of mun1 only $million/yrEconomic value total $million/yr
1Christchurch-West MeltonCRC41024391030.41297.72328.1
2Heretaunga PlainsHBRC2126258646.5432.21078.7
3Upper Wairau ValleyMDC750590705.5107.9813.4
4Central PlainsCRC686285622.4110.2732.6
5HuttWRC1064797179.1385.4564.5
6Coromandel volcanicEW597989365.886.9452.7
7Tauranga Group sedimentsEW264845374.128.6402.7
8ManawatuHMW617939211.3134.3345.6
9Hinuera FormationEW149359307.50.5308
10Rangitata-Levels plainsCRC553046167.8126.9294.7
11Auckland volcanicsARC538876105.4169.3274.7
12Rakaia-Ashburton plainsCRC527073176.194.2270.3
13NULLaquiferORC175018250.91.1252
14Ashley DownsCRC43939988.6141.2229.8
15Lower Waikato GroundwaterEW229180200.57.8208.3
16Whakamuru IgnimbritesEW22647898.566.3164.8
17WanganuiHMW2734975973.7132.7
18Grey RiverWCRC138569132.60132.6
19Jacobs RiverWCRC90720100.231.9132.1
20Hamilton Basin GroundwaterEW136528130.60130.6
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