Water users in Canterbury seeking consents to take ground water will have to sink a bore and carry out a pumping test to show their water use will not harm the aquifer or affect other users.
Canterbury's regional council says the test, which would have to be carried out before an application is lodged, would show the impact a new bore would have on neighbouring wells, streams or rivers.
It would also confirm the well yield, ensuring applicants are applying for a volume of water that could realistically be delivered.
Council consents and planning director Don Rule says while applicants will have to bear the cost of sinking a bore before getting a consent, a test that gives an acceptable result means the application can be processed without undue delay.
He says this approach is already taken by a number of other regional councils, including Waikato and Otago.
The new system applies from July.