In summer, we get a lot less rain than the rest of the year and on top of this, the amount of water people use increases (for example, watering gardens and filling up swimming pools). The combination of these things puts pressure on our water supply. Water restrictions help everyone play their part and are put in place to make sure there is enough water for everyone to use during this time.
Although water is now metered in Waikato and Waipa districts, it is still really important that we conserve water.
Councils are only able to take a certain amount of water based on their resource consents. The alert levels kick in when we are using too much water and there is concern about whether or not we have enough for everyone.
If we keep our water use down, then restrictions won’t be necessary. But if it creeps back up then the alerts are a good reminder for our communities to be mindful of how much water they are using.
For more information and frequently asked questions about water meters in your area please visit
Hamilton City Council does not have residential water meters.
There are different levels of water restrictions in place depending on what what water alert level we are on. Official restrictions only relate to outdoor water use - but of course, we encourage you to be smart with water wherever you are using it!
Water Alert Level 1 means you can only use sprinklers between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm.
Hand-held hosing can be used at any time.
Water Alert Level 2 means you can only use sprinklers between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm on alternate days.
Hand-held hosing can be used at any time.
Water Alert Level 3 means you can't use sprinklers at all. Hand-held hosing only.
Water Alert Level 4 means you can't use any outside water systems.
Water restrictions apply to businesses and commercial customers (including schools and childcare centres) where water is being used for non-core business purposes. E.g. using a sprinkler to water a garden or shrub outside a lawyers office building, school or restaurant. The core business is providing legal advice, education and food – not gardening/landscaping.
Alternate day sprinkling means residents whose street address number is an even number can use their sprinkler systems between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm on days with even dates (i.e. 30 January, 2 February, 4 February etc).
Those with odd letter box numbers can use their sprinkler systems between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm on days with odd dates (i.e. 31 January, 1 February, 3 February etc).
A sprinkler is a device that ‘sprays’ water through the air. Spray irrigation systems like sprinklers can waste a lot of water to evaporation and runoff. If you are using a sprinkler, use a timer and be mindful where you position it so that you are watering plants, not paved areas. Drip line irrigation and soaker hoses are two of the best ways to water shrubs, plants and vegetables, as they water the root zone directly. During restrictions, please only use irrigation systems during restricted watering hours.
Hand-held hosing means that a person must be physically holding the hose. In other words, this means no unattended hoses. Always use a twist or trigger nozzle when using your hose.
Even though there are no limitations on filling up your pool at alert levels 1, 2 and 3, it’s important to ensure the hose doesn’t get left in the pool and forgotten about. If your property has a pool or spa there are many ways you can make them more water smart. Many of these tips apply to paddling and temporary pools too.
Check out our smart water play ideas to keep your kids cool and your water use low. If your children like to play under the sprinkler, or they have toys that attach to the hose, they can use these at any time on the lawn or in a garden. Use a timer and don't forget to turn the water off at the end. If we reach alert level 4 no outside water play is permitted.
There would be no outside non-essential water use by domestic, commercial and non-residential water users. This means no hoses, sprinklers, irrigation systems can be used unless it's essential. Alert level 4 would require a significant reduction in our communities water use.
Last summer, 2018-2019, Hamilton City, Tauwhare, Matangi & Gordonton went to alert level 2. Waikato District, Te Awamutu & Pirongia went to alert level 1.
Greywater is water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, washing machines and laundry tubs. Watering your landscape with greywater will save drinking water resources.
Re-using greywater will also ease the strain on your septic tank (if you have one), especially during the summer months. The simplest way to re-use greywater is catching it in a large bendy bucket (the type with two handles) from your shower, washing machine and laundry sink and carrying it outside to use.
Be sure to use eco-friendly soaps/detergents to avoid contamination or reuse the water on non-edible parts of your garden. For more information see https://www.smarterhomes.org.nz/smart-guides/water-and-waste/re-using-greywater/
Rainwater is a good source of water for using on your garden. You can build your own collection tank or find a local supplier to do this for you.
For more information see https://www.smarterhomes.org.nz/smart-guides/water-and-waste/collecting-and-using-rainwater/ and https://www.ecomatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Build-your-own-rain-harvesting-kit.pdf
Rain in the Waikato is great for our farms, gardens, parks and local waterways however, for the region's water supply we need the rain to fall in our catchment areas - places where our water comes from originally. If rain is falling in your town, then it is good for reducing how much water people use (we see big decreases because people aren't watering their gardens or lawns). However, it doesn't mean that our water supply is topped up and that we can ignore the water restrictions.
The three Councils take water from various sources throughout the district. The Waikato River supplies water for Hamilton City and parts of Waipā. Rivers, bores and springs are sources throughout the Waikato District and the rest of Waipa District.
Even though it looks like there is a lot, it is not a free for all. Councils (along with other river users) can only take a certain amount of water each year from the different water sources. These rules make sure that everyone who is taking water uses it responsibly and wisely. By putting water restrictions in place, it means there's enough water for everyone and it also protects the ecosystems that rely on the river and stream networks.
The water in Waikato River flows from Lake Taupō. Even though it looks like there is a lot, it is not a free for all. Councils (along with other river users) can only take a certain amount of water each year from the River. These rules make sure that everyone who is taking water uses it responsibly and wisely. By putting water restrictions in place, it means there's enough water for everyone and it also protects the ecosystems that rely on the Waikato River.
When lots of water is being used, the flow to springs, streams and rivers can be reduced and neighbouring bores can also be affected. If bore levels continue to decline over a long time, it can reduce the future availability of water. A lot of rural homes rely on bores for their water.
For springs that are connected to coastal aquifers, over-extracting water increases the risk of saltwater being drawn into the fresh water reserves. This can make the spring permanently unsuitable for drinking and many other uses (irrigation, watering etc). Raglan is one town that uses a spring. Taking water sensibly from the bores and springs also means that we are protecting our future water supplies.
The river's depth is mostly determined by the level of Lake Taupō, as it is the source of the Waikato River. When there is no rain in the Lake Taupō and Waikato river catchments, water levels in the lake and river fall, which impacts our ability to take water from the river.
It would be great if you could start a friendly conversation with them and explain what Water Alert level the community is on and what that means for them and their water use if you feel comfortable doing that. Or you can fill out the Water Concern Form on this website.
Not necessarily. The respective council will assess the leak as soon as possible, but sometimes there’s a delay between the inspection and the repair. If they need to shut down the water supply to a street to complete the repair they try to let homeowners or businesses know in advance. Sometimes they have to wait for new parts, or special equipment, and sometimes they may have had to attend a higher-priority leak.
Water restrictions apply to sprinkler use at Alert Levels 1-3. Car wash businesses do not use sprinklers so restrictions would not apply.
At Alert Level 4 when no use of outside water systems are allowed, a car wash business would need to cease operating if using council-supplied water until restrictions eased to Level 3.
If a car wash business has its own water supply that is not supplied by council, they can operate as normal.