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Complying with E7 Taking, using, damming and diversion of water and drilling of the AUP

E7 Taking, using, damming and diversion of water and drilling - is a less obvious AUP consideration - but one which has been resulting in applications being rejected under section 88 (RMA).

This post provides general information about how you can quickly detect whether this consideration applies to typical building and development projects and what you can do to address it.

When is this typically a problem?

Issues arise when a proposal involves groundwater. This can become a factor when proposals involve excavations greater than 1m below natural ground level. Things to look out for are cuts, trenches, piling etc. for purposes such as retaining walls, pools, installing infrastructure and piping etc.

If excavations take place where groundwater is close to the surface, compliance with standards under E7 is required for excavations themselves and the steps taken to manage groundwater levels. Non-compliance with these can also result in reasons for consent.

How can this be addressed?

Even if your works are permitted, you can technically still be rejected if you don’t outline how they are permitted. To do this, you must do the following:

  • Identify the relevant activity(s) from the activity table in the E7 document (even if it’s a permitted activity, you should still include this in your application)

  • Demonstrate compliance against the relevant standards. Typically for construction/development standards to look further into are E7.6.1.10. Diversion of groundwater caused by any excavation, (including trench) or tunnel and E7.6.1.6. Dewatering or groundwater level control associated with a groundwater diversion permitted under Standard E7.6.1.10

  • Get the relevant specialist inputs. Even if you’ve got an engineer onboard, make sure they are aware that the Council will be assessing this specific issue as it’s not always included in their assessments.


There’s a quick overview of when E7 Taking, using, damming and diversion of water and drilling can cause problems and how to generally comply. On Rico, we make detecting issues and demonstrating compliance in a way that speeds-up Council processing easier than ever. Check us out at to learn how we’re making resource consents easier for everyone.

Disclaimer: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not to be used or relied upon as professional advice. We accept no liability for any such use or reliance and any errors or omissions in the information provided.

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