An Auckland company has lost a bid to take more water from Whangarei's Poroti Springs after strong objections by the Maori landowners.
Zodiac Holdings applied to Northland Regional Council to take 2500 cubic metres of water a day from the springs - an extra daily extraction of 1500 cubic metres.
The company said it wanted investment certainty for the marketing and distribution of bottled water in South East Asia and China.
The independent commissioner who heard the case, Rob van Voorthuysen, found Zodiac had no reliable way to measure the impact of an increased take on Maori cultural use of the springs.
The hapu has refused Zodiac permission to instal a weir and water level recorder on its land.
The hapu says the decision vindicates its concerns about the way water volumes are measured for consents, and the pressure on a cultural resource by commercial operators.
Zodiac director Ian Thompson says the grounds for refusing the application were narrow and notes the commissioner in his decision suggested there may be ways to resolve outstanding matters.
Local orchardists and the Whangarei District Council draw from the stream that flows from the springs.