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Bore Security

Information for all Hawke’s Bay landowners or land occupiers

There are as many as 8000 bores accessing groundwater across the region for home supply, stock water, industry, processing and irrigation. 

If you have a bore on your property you have an obligation to keep it well maintained and managed correctly.  No-one is permitted to have a bore that leaks water into or from the bore.

Preventing cross-connection

Drilling, construction and alteration of bores requires a bore permit as it is a Controlled activity in the Regional Resource Management Plan. This requires bores to be cased and sealed to prevent aquifer cross-connection and leakage from the surface into groundwater. 

You must be active in ensuring that this cross-connection is not occurring.  Failure to do so may result in degradation of water quality that others depend on. Enforcement action may be taken by HBRC if a bore is found to be inadequately maintained and managed leading to contamination.

Please note that each bore permit includes the following conditions:

  • All works and structures relating to this resource consent shall be designed and constructed to conform to the best engineering practices and at all times maintained to a safe and serviceable standard.
  • The consent holder shall keep such records and provide information, as set out under ‘records for the drilling’ below, to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council within one month of the bore being completed.
  • All bores to be used for water supply shall be fitted with an effective valve to regulate the flow and shall have adequate facility and access for the purpose of measuring water level and pressure.

Your well driller can advise on bore security and decommissioning; well drillers are listed in the Yellow Pages of the phone book.

A securely protected well head

See diagram below

1.            Well cap – the well cap should be securely installed and sealed between the casing and any hoses/cables going down the well.
2.            Well casing – ensure that the casing is elevated above any potential flooding.
3.            Concrete apron – this forms a seal between the casing and the surrounding ground. There may also be a bentonite seal around the casing, depending on the drilling method used.
4.            Backflow preventer – the backflow preventer stops contaminants siphoning back into your well.
5.            Area around the well – keep clear of animals, pesticides, fertilisers, compost, rubbish, vegetation or effluent.
6.            Sample point – it would be useful for your well to have a sample point (that's not the kitchen tap).  Have your groundwater tested if you suspect a problem with water quality.

well head 3

Water quality testing

Landowners can get water tested for e-coli, total coliforms and Drinking Water Standard parameters at a Hawke’s Bay lab - ARL, Waitangi Road, Awatoto, Napier -, 0800 100 668

Bore permit responsibility

Bore permits are issued to allow bores to be drilled. They are not transferred when ownership changes. Landowners are therefore responsible for maintaining any bores on their property to ensure they remain cased and sealed, and that there is no cross contamination. 

Decommissioning bores

Bores that are no longer wanted must be properly decommissioned or sealed. Leaving an unwanted or leaking bore that is not consented can result in contamination and HBRC may take enforcement action to prevent this.

You do not require a resource consent to decommission a bore (Permitted activity) but you must ensure the following requirements can be met –

Backfill and seal the bore at the surface to prevent contamination of groundwater.

  • Seal holes and bores intersecting groundwater to prevent the vertical movement of groundwater and to permanently confine the groundwater to the specific zone (or zones) in which it originally occurred.
  • Backfill materials should be clean sand, coarse stone, clay or drill cuttings, and of course non toxic.
  • Decommissioning shall be undertaken by a suitably qualified person (ie well driller).
  • Advise HBRC that a bore is being decommissioned.

You can view this Rule in the RRMP (click on the PDF link and go to p 123, 6.3.1 BORE DRILLING & BORE SEALING Rule 4.)

Bore locations

You can get additional information about the existence/location of bores on your property by using our mapping tool.

Contact us

HBRC welcomes anyone who wants to discuss any queries or concerns about their bores to contact us on 06 835 9200 or 0800 108 838 or


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