Hot water bores in Waiwera overflowing since thermal resort shut down

Overflowing water bores have been causing Waiwera residents trouble since the town's thermal resort shut down last year, and now the council is saying water levels may keep rising.

In sleepy, idyllic Waiwera, locals heat their beachfront pools for free thanks to a geothermal aquifer below ground.

But after the local thermal resort closed down last year due to financial troubles, bores used to access the hot water began to erupt, with some of the water being measured as hot as 64degC.

"It was just like a boiling pot if you boiled the spuds over on the stove, it was just like that, just kept on going,' said resident John Murray.

"Bubbles of water, and probably coming out at about 2000 litres an hour when we measured it."

Waiwera means 'hot water' in Māori and the first tourist spa was set up in 1848. When the pools were operating, they used a-thousand cubic metres of thermal water every day.

Many locals believe since that's no longer happening, the water below ground is building up, and has to find somewhere else to spring out. 

"When you stop pumping, the pressure of all the water in the aquifer goes back to that area where you were pumping," said Auckland Council hydrogeologist Kolt Johnson.

Most bores have been fixed, costing each owner thousands, but they may not be out of the woods just yet as the water table is changing.

"It may rise to a slightly higher level," said Mr Johnson.

But that could bring an upside - a return to Waiwera's natural hot water beach of the past.

"I'd love it personally if we had a hot water beach. I think it would be a great thing for Waiwera," said resident Murray Jurgeleit.

Locals are doing daily digs to check, hoping the Waiwera pops up at the beach next time.