Concern is growing as the largest water bottling plant gets underway in Christchurch.
Mineral water company Cloud Ocean Water, whose major shareholder is Chinese-owned Ling Hai Group, received consent to extract more than 4.5 million litres of water a day.
The consent was transferred from the plant's previous owner to Cloud Ocean Water in May.
Environment Canterbury councillor Lan Pham says the issue highlights the government's carelessness towards water allocation.
"I find any large extractive use of water questionable, where it's purely for private profit. A public resource is being extracted and is suffering as a result," Ms Pham says.
However, Ms Pham says water bottling consents pale in comparison to larger irrigation consents, which can be "hundreds of times greater in magnitude".
While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ruled out an export tax last week, the government says it's looking at alternatives, such as tariffs and sales royalties.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "It's early days but I have seen some initiatives that will help us achieve our outcome of at least NZ getting some benefit from the export of bottled water without breaching our trade agreements."
Orchards across Central Otago frequently struggle to find enough workers to pick their fruit, especially with the regions hot weather making this season two-weeks earlier than usual.
At 45 South Management in Cromwell, the country's largest cherry exporter, they need more than 400 workers at the peak of the season.
They try to employ as many New Zealanders as they can but it's never enough, so many of their employees are here on working holiday visas.
"Sometimes it's really difficult and we're lucky that New Zealand is one of the destinations that these young kids want to travel to," said Tim Jones, owner of 45 South Management.
"So maintaining the working holiday scheme is really important to us."
The Summerfruit industry is also on the rise, last season it brought in $130 million and those in the industry predict it will grow to $500 million in the next 10 or 15 years.
Many growers are concerned the new government’s tougher stance on immigration could cause problems finding workers in the future.
Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, says they aren't making any changes to working holiday visas.
However he says they are looking to expand the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, which brings more than 10,000 workers from the Pacific Islands to orchards and vineyards across the country each year.