Note: this guideline is issued by the Surveyor-General under section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 about the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 and is not legally binding.

The following information relates to recording a water boundary in a CSD.

Because parcels bounded by water boundaries are subject to specific survey and legal considerations, it is essential that CSDs record current and former positions of relevant water body margins correctly, clearly, and unambiguously.

Depiction of water boundary must be to scale and maintain shape in CSD diagrams

On a Diagram of Survey and a Diagram of Parcels, a water boundary must be depicted as an irregular line at a scale that shows its true shape and relationship to other boundaries [r 9.6.7(a)(i) and r 10.4.5(a)].  

Where the scale required to include the full boundary on a diagram could result in ambiguity or a lack of clarity (eg. a long narrow stream where banks appear to merge), the water boundaries may be copied at a larger scale onto separate additional diagrams and, if necessary, distorted so that the information is clear and unambiguous.

Note that depiction of a water boundary on a Diagram of Survey must also be at a scale that reflects relevant accuracy specifications [r 9.6.7(a)(ii)].

Read more about accuracy of water boundaries and irregular boundaries

Using water boundaries from the Landonline database

Where water boundary information is extracted from Landonline and it is to be used in a new CSD, its shape and location must be verified from the original source datasets.  This is because its shape and location in the spatial cadastre (Landonline) has often been distorted by the process of capture and maintenance and may not truly reflect the shape and location as surveyed.

Note that 'adopted from Landonline' or 'DCDB' are not acceptable references. The stated source of the adoption must be the CSD that defined the water boundary [r 9.4(b)].

CSD diagrams must include the legal boundary description

A Diagram of Survey and Diagram of Parcels must describe the legal water boundary [r 9.6.7(c) and r 10.4.5(c)].  In the case of a parcel adjoining:

  • the common marine and coastal area or tidal river, this will normally be MHWM or MHWS in the horizontal plane, or
  • a non-tidal watercourse or lake, this will normally be the left or right bank in the horizontal plane.

In the case of a stratum boundary, the diagrams must describe both the horizontal plane and vertical plane (eg the surface or bed of the sea or river or a contour level).

The legal boundary description must not be confused with the description of the physical feature required to be in the CSD Plan by rule 9.4(c).  For example, the legal boundary may be MHWM, MHWS, left bank, or right bank while the physical feature that defines the boundary could be top of bank or bottom of bank.

CSD diagrams must distinguish between MHWS and MHWM

The distinction between MHWM and MHWS is legally significant, especially for existing parcels with boundaries set at MHWM and the impact of statutes such as the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

Where the surveyor determines that the old position of MHWM and the new position of MHWS do not coincide, the depiction of the two positions must be clear and the land between the two positions dealt with correctly.

Where the surveyor determines that the old position of MHWM and the new position of MHWS coincide (within the margins of accuracy as specified in rule 3.4), and the old MHWM boundary is adopted to represent MHWS, the diagram must be annotated to this effect.  The label 'boundary is MHWS/MHWM' is acceptable in this situation.  In this case, the fact that the two boundaries coincide must be included in the survey report [r 8.2(a)(xii)].

CSD diagrams must include physical description

Where a physical feature (eg bottom of bank or top of bank) defines a water boundary, this must be described in the CSD Plan [r 9.4(c)].

The legal boundary description and the physical description must be clearly presented to avoid confusion between the two.

Further information on specific situations

The articles listed below provide detailed information about recording water boundaries in specific situations:

Refer also to the following articles relating to the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011:

Last Updated: 31 March 2017
Authority: Surveyor-General - Section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002
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