An application to remove 18 million litres of water a day from a small Bay of Plenty town and send it offshore has been rejected by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
The council wrote to the applicants Murupara No 1 and Murupara No 2 last week because the 155-page application was incomplete and did not include sufficient detail given the scale and significance of the effect of the proposed activity on the environment.
The companies now plan to resubmit a new application with the additional information this week.
In a letter to the applicant seen by the Herald, the council said the application lacked detail about neighbouring bores, the effects on surface water and an accurate assessment of the actual or potential effects.
Local iwi Ngati Manawa said last month that it agreed to the partnership after it believed there would be no adverse affects to the water. The iwi has already given its support and committed to leasing land for two water bottling plants.
But the regional council has also identified other iwi who could be potentially affected that may need to be consulted, including Ngai Tuho, Ngati Rangitihi and Ngati Whare.
NZ Aquifer managing director Roydon Hartnett, who is representing the two companies, said the council advised it of a "very minor administrative change" where they asked it to separate the extraction and drilling activities. The company would change it before resubmitting the application this week.
Hartnett said this would slightly delay plans as they had been expecting a decision this year.
"We are now hopeful of hearing positive news from the regional council by mid-January."
Ngati Manawa had also contacted the regional council to assure it no other iwi required consultation, he said.
Hartnett was behind the two previous attempts at setting up water bottling plants in South Waikato and Ashburton.
In his latest attempt Hartnett has got the support of Whakatane District Council and Ngati Manawa, who believe it will revitalise the town which was once a thriving forestry community.
According to an economic development report supporting the application, the new deal is promising to create 478 direct and 628 indirect jobs for the town which has an unemployment rate of 27 per cent.
"We don't have any further comment today except to acknowledge the overwhelming support we have received since details of the project were first made public," Hartnett said.
The latest proposal is more ambitious than his previous attempts as it wants to take almost three times the amount of water Hartnett's company Blue Spring Limited proposed extracting from Putaruru's Blue Spring in the Waihou River.
NZ Pure Blue Springs Ltd withdrew its application in October after Raukawa Iwi refused to support it because of the significant adverse affects to the spring.
South Waikato District Council was also getting cold feet around how they could guarantee the company would contribute the promised donations into a community fund.
Council management were also questioning whether the proposed number of staff required at the bottling plant was inflated, emails released under the Official Information Act revealed.
NZ Pure Blue Springs Limited first attempted to purchase the right to extract and export 1.4 billion litres of pure, artesian water a year in Ashburton but the deal was cancelled in July last year following public backlash. That proposal had promised 1000 new jobs.