New data suggests New Zealand is not getting as much economic value from its freshwater as it could, according to the Envrionment Minister.
Nick Smith released the findings of a report on freshwater allocation consents at a regional water symposium in Napier on Tuesday.
Dr Smith says the Environment Ministry report found most regions use less than half the water they are allowed to take under resource consent.
The two regions that use the most are Southland, which takes 74% of the water for which resource consent is required and Canterbury, which takes 57%.
Dr Smith says freshwater is generally plentiful in New Zealand but is not always in the right place at the right time and that means carefully managing the resource while maximising economic opportunities.