There are as many as 8,000 bores into groundwater across the region for home supply, stock water, industrial use, processing and irrigation. This is information for all Hawke’s Bay landowners or occupiers about your responsibility as a bore owner, for water testing and bore security.
Your responsibilities as a bore owner
Useful leaflet - Your well water might be making you sick
If you have a bore on your property you have an obligation to maintain, monitor and treat your own water. You should ensure your bore does not leak water into or from the bore.
The Regional Council advises self-supply bore owners to sample and test their water annually at a laboratory for E. coli, total coliforms, elevated levels of arsenic and Drinking Water Standard parameters. Groundwater from private bores may contain some higher levels of naturally-occurring arsenic and fail the acceptable level for drinking-water. Elevated arsenic levels occur naturally in groundwater, due to specific materials being present in the aquifer. The release of arsenic from surrounding materials is local to specific bores and does not occur consistently throughout aquifer systems. Water is considered safe to drink if it meets levels set out in the DWSNZ - Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 - DWSNZ (revised 2008).
Information on water sampling is available from laboratories who can perform analysis:
- Hill Laboratories - Hamilton 0508 44 555 22
- Analytical Research Laboratories - Napier 06 835 9222
- Water Testing Hawke’s Bay - Hastings 06 870 6449
People wanting health advice or who have specific health concerns about their water should talk to their GP. For information on what test results might mean in terms of risk to health, refer to this handout or call the on-call Health Protection Officer on 06 878 8109. The Regional Council works with Napier and Hastings Councils and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in matters concerning the environment and public health.
Drilling, construction and alteration of bores requires a bore permit. This is a Controlled activity in the Regional Resource Management Plan, which requires bores to be cased and sealed to prevent aquifer cross-connection and leakage from the surface into groundwater.
You must ensure that cross-connection and ingress of surface water is not occurring. Failure to do so may result in degradation of water quality that others depend on. Enforcement action may be taken by the Regional Council if a bore is found to be inadequately maintained and managed, leading to contamination.
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 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 or blue-tick certifier can advise on bore security and decommissioning.
A securely protected well head
See diagram below
1. Well cap – the well cap should be securely installed and sealed around the casing and around any hoses/cables going down the well, to prevent surface water gaining access to the well.
2. Well casing – ensure that the top of the casing is elevated above any potential flooding.
3. Concrete apron or other impervious material – this must form a watertight seal between the casing and the surrounding ground that drains away from the well. There may also be a Bentonite seal around the casing, depending on the drilling method used.
Note: if concrete is used, the metal bore casing in contact with the concrete will need to be corrosion-protected before the concrete is poured.
4. Backflow preventer – a backflow preventer must be installed to stop any contaminants in your pipework 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.
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.
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 the Regional Council 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, i.e. a well driller.
- Advise the Regional Council that a bore is being decommissioned - so this can be updated in the records we hold.
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.)
Obtain additional information about the existence/ location of bores on your property by using our mapping tool.
We welcome anyone who wants to discuss any queries or concerns about their bores to contact us on 06 835 9200 or 0800 108 838 or email@example.com.