The HB Regional Council has begun to release unprecedented 3D imagery of our aquifers, having overflown our key basins – the  Ngaruroro River Valley, Heretaunga Plains, Ruataniwha Plains and the Poukawa and Ōtāne Basins – in 2020 using state of the art Danish electromagnetic technology, SkyTEM.

Think of SkyTEM as a sort of MRI or CAT Scan of our aquifers’ innards – the technology shoots signals into the aquifers, where different ground and water compositions reflect back differently, with the resulting data processed into precise 3D images of what’s below.

Ours is the first region in NZ to do this. Sure beats Uncle Phil’s divining rod!

Regional Council Integrated Catchment Manager Iain Maxwell says: “Water management is crucially important for the future of the Hawke’s Bay region, so this level of mapping will ensure that our decision making around the management of our groundwater resources is well-informed.”

Hopefully better data on the water holding capacity and behaviour of our aquifers will remove some of the ‘mystery’ that has befuddled decision-making acceptable to all interests with competing values and demands concerning our groundwater supplies and future allocations.

Here’s a short video explaining the programme. 

You can find the full story of this mapping and what it will yield on the HBRC website here.

All data from the project, undertaken in partnership with the Provincial Growth Fund and GNS Science, will be publicly available.

Join the Conversation


  1. I hope that HBRC have covered community interests such as Jervoistown which relies totally on bore water and which has a heavy load of houses/properties!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.