9 October 2013

Cooper’s Wells Water Protection

Thirty-five submissions received on proposal designation

The Gore District Council’s notice of requirement for the designation of land around its main water supply for Gore has received 35 submissions.

Chief Executive Stephen Parry said the submissions still have to be analysed but at this stage it appears the majority oppose the notice of requirement. There were also submissions supporting the proposal and a couple were neutral.

The notice of requirement signals the Council’s intention to designate 14ha of land surrounding Cooper’s Wells, at Knapdale. The wells are the main source of water for the Council’s urban water supply.

The land is presently part of a dairy farm and is owned by four parties – the Council, the Crown, a defunct agricultural company, and the dairy farmer. The designation also includes a 4m-wide strip from the wells to the Mataura River.

Mr Parry said the submissions will be summarised and a report prepared by the Council’s senior planner, Howard Alchin, for independent hearing commissioners Colin Weatherall, of Dunedin, and David Pullar, of Kaiwera.

The notice of requirement will be the subject of a hearing before the commissioners, set down for 18-19 December. They have been given delegated authority to make a decision on the notice and submissions, Mr Parry said.

The commissioners’ decision is open to appeal to the Environment Court.


The Gore District Council is proposing to designate 14ha of land surrounding Gore’s main water source, Cooper’s Wells. The designation applies to land at present operated as part of a dairy farm. There is also a 4m-wide strip from the wells to the Mataura River, as well as the access lane from Knapdale Road.

The main designated area, known as the Water Supply and Protection Area, is owned by

the Sharp Trust (3.4ha),the Gore District Council and the Crown (7.6ha), andthe defunct New Zealand Agricultural Company (3ha).

The Council has put together information sheets with details about the designation, Cooper’s Wells history, the Council’s statutory obligations and frequently asked questions.

Info sheets
Designation Area map
[PDF, 1.4 MB]

Water Quality

The Council has been concerned about water quality in this area for some time. Nitrate has been recorded at levels that have required us to notify health authorities, start regular monitoring and act to ensure the protection of water quality. The creation of a designated area gives the Council an enduring mechanism to look after water quality in the area.

Designation Process

A Notice of Requirement has been lodged as part of the designation process. The Council will publicly notify the requirement and accept submissions in support, opposition or neutral to the proposal. Submissions will close on Tuesday 12 November 2013.

The Notice of Requirement allows for existing use rights on the land tagged for designation. This means the Sharp Trust can continue to graze the land around Cooper’s Wells. However, no new activities are allowed without the permission of the designating authority, the Council.

Public Notice [PDF, 121 KB]
Submission Form [DOCX, 39 KB]
Submission Form [PDF, 129 KB]
Supporting Information [PDF, 4.1 MB]
Formal Notice of Application [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Cooper’s Wells Statistics

Cooper’s Wells provide most of the daily water requirements for Gore. The well-field is located in the Mataura River’s flood plain.
The wells:

  • are on the true left bank of the Mataura River,
  • located about 5km north-east of Gore,
  • between Whiterig and Knapdale,
  • established in 1979,
  • supply, on average, 2,850 cubic metres of water a day, and
  • source water from the Knapdale Groundwater Zone.

There was a designation in place for a small area around the wells from 1979 until 2005, when the Gore District Plan became operative.

Since 1994, the Council has commissioned numerous reports on water quality and quantity in the Cooper’s Wells catchment. These, as well as other documents and reports, have been part of the Council’s decision making process for the proposed designation. These technical reports and documents can be viewed here.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: