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Waiāri Water Supply Scheme

The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme is designed to help meet the future water supply needs of Tauranga and the wider Western Bay of Plenty.

What is the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme?

The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme involves developing a water abstraction facility on the Waiāri Stream, a water treatment plant in No.1 Road, Te Puke, and an underground water pipeline from the plant to Papamoa.

The plant will mainly service the Papamoa coastal strip/Te Tumu growth areas and in time will provide a backup for Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s Te Puke water supply.

Construction started in March 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2022.

A sneak peek

Drone footage from project engineers Beca gives you a great idea of the construction of the Waiāri intake facility. Also note the effort that is put into reducing any impact construction has on the environment. This is not professional video, however we thought it provides a good idea of what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’.

Watch the video

Waiari Treatment Plant

Community update

Project work is back on track after the summer break teams are operating under strict (red) traffic light conditions. Read on for an update on project work below.

Remedial work along Te Puke Highway is planned to start on Monday 14 February. This will mean a lane closure and a diversion of traffic between Bell Road and Welcome Bay Road roundabout. Please find more details below.

The main structural work is now complete, the roof is on and temporary sheetpiling at the river has been removed. Key milestones for the first quarter of 2022 include:

  • Pouring the floors
  • Installation of electrical switch gear, pumps and generator
  • Finishing the carpark and lower section of the access road

Waiari intake facility

Progress is steady at the water treatment plant site also. Key milestones for the next couple months include the completion of:

  • Installation of the membrane 
  • Circular wall structure of the reservoir 
  • Drop test to test the clarifier
  • The permanent stormwater pond

The membranes are such a fundamental part of this project, they are key in filtration and treatment of water. A dedicated contractor joined us on 10 January to do the membrane installation, expected to be completed in March.

Water treatment plant

Resealing is currently taking place on Te Puke Highway, between Poplar Lane and Welcome Bay Road. To ensure the quality and safety of the road surface, we need to fully reseal the lane where the new water pipe was laid. 

  • To do this work safely, one lane of Te Puke Highway needs to be closed.
  • Traffic heading towards Te Puke from Tauranga/Papamoa will be diverted along Tara Road, Parton Road, Bell Road.
  • Traffic from Te Puke towards Tauranga will continue as normal, with speed restrictions in place.
  • This work has been delayed and will now finish in the week starting 21 March.

This work started on 14 February and is expected to be completed in week of Monday 21 March.

The work is taking longer than initially planned, due to a quality issue with a 480m section of road. Surface testing shows that the quality of the existing basecourse is not up to standard, which means the final seal does not reach the required quality.

To prevent any future issues, we have decided to remove and upgrade the basecourse, to ensure the safety and longevity of the road seal. This means a delay in the reopening of Te Puke Highway in both directions.

We appreciate drivers’ continued patience and apologise for any additional inconvenience this work causes. Please consider the safety of staff and other drivers when passing works.

Waiari road map

We’ve been planting at the intake site over the last two planting seasons. Restoring areas with native plants helps keep our environment healthy, reduces erosion and improves water quality. Bush areas can regenerate naturally but this takes a number of years.

The varieties planted are ideal for the local conditions. These plants are starting to thrive and create a natural environment for local wildlife to return.

Waiari intake site planting

Why do we need a new water supply?

The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme will provide for around 35,000 family homes, enabling both infill growth and new greenfield development across the city.

The coastal strip from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa is predicted to be Tauranga’s highest growth area – we’re expecting Papamoa’s population to triple over the next three decades. Te Puke’s population is also expected to grow steadily.

Tauranga currently has two water treatment plants: one at Oropi and one at Joyce Road. These plants provide Tauranga with water, but they won’t be able to provide for the growth in population in our coastal communities.

In the 2017/2018 summer, we introduced water restrictions in Tauranga for the first time in 17 years. This shows that we are nearing the capacity of our current water supply. The Waiāri Water Supply Scheme will ensure security of supply as the city and sub-region expands. 

We’ve been undertaking ecological monitoring since the resource consent was granted in 2010, and will continue to monitor the stream’s chemical and biological health. We’ll also plant alongside the stream to prevent erosion and re-establish shade.

We’ll also carry out regular surveys to ensure the protection of aquatic life, including temperature readings, fish surveys and invertebrate samples.

The project costs will be financed in the first instance by a 10-year interest-free government Housing Infrastructure Fund loan. To repay this loan, in August 2021 we started collecting Development Contributions, which are a fee on residential and commercial developments. The scheme will also have a small portion of funding through rates to reflect the benefit received by existing ratepayers.

Learn more about Development Contributions

The water will flow from the plant through around 22 kilometres of underground pipelines. The pipeline will start at 376 No. 1 Road, Te Puke, run down No. 1 Road through Lawrence Oliver Park, across private property and out to the Poplar Lane reservoir.

Underground pipes from there will carry the water along the Te Puke highway and Welcome Bay Road to the eastern reservoir at R942.

Iwi relationships with the river, water quality and quantity, and ecosystem health are important in our plans for the increasing population in the Papamoa East area.

The project recognises the inherent relationship tangata whenua have with the stream by collaborating with iwi through the Waiāri Kaitiaki Advisory Group, which was formed in 2011 to advise on matters relevant to tangata whenua and water conservation.

Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council have a joint resource consent to abstract water from the Waiāri Stream. Western Bay of Plenty District Council currently gets its water supply from groundwater bores around the district.

At some stage in the future, the council will need to use the waterfrom the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme. The resource consent for the water abstracted from the Waiāri Stream allows for 25 percent to go to the Western Bay of Plenty district


  • Consent preparation and consultation started, Waiari Project Steering Group established.

    2007 - 2009
  • Initial consents awarded, appealed at the Environment Court and re-awarded July 2010 after mediation.

    2009 - 2010
  • Start of environmental monitoring of the Waiari stream, providing insight into the health of the stream and its wildlife. The Waiari Project Steering Programme becomes the Katiaki Advisory Group.

  • The scheme is put on hold due to decreased water demand.

    2012 – 2015
  • Planning and design recommence.

  • Tangata Whenua lead a blessing on the site of the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme. Construction of the scheme starts with the earthworks for the intake.

  • Start of foundations for the water intake at the Waiāri stream. This takes over 700 piles due to poor ground conditions.

  • Construction of the treatment facility starts with pre-loading 30,000m3 material to compact the ground to take the structural load.

  • Pipeline laying concludes; this means 22 kilometres of pipeline is now installed, connecting the new plant to the existing supply network. Pipeline flushing and disinfecting starts.

  • Reservoir completed – this will store 10 million litre treated water.
    Autumn - Construction, installation and ‘cold commissioning’ of the plant completed.
    Spring - Running the plant to check everything works as intended.
    Summer  - Waiāri Water treatment plant in production.



Document library

3D images of the treatment plant and the intake (1mb pdf)
General FAQ's (2mb pdf)
Pipeline route (2mb pdf)

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