Put down the garden hose, says Council

Published: 11/02/2020

Waipā District Council is moving to Water Alert Level 4, with the stream supplying Te Awamutu and Pirongia struggling under the dry conditions with no prospect of rain in sight. At Water Alert Level 4 only essential water use is allowed.

Chief executive, Garry Dyet, said the water services team has been running at full capacity in attempts to help reduce community water use but the move to level 4 was now required.

“Te Awamutu and Pirongia need to keep conserving water as much as possible. The Mangauika Stream which supplies Te Tahi Dam is at an extremely low level which means our dam isn’t getting topped up at the same rate. Reducing our water use is the only thing we can do in the absence of decent rainfall.”

“In Ōhaupō and rural areas, the Pukerimu water treatment plant on Parallel Road is running at full capacity. We can’t make more water so we need our residents to reduce demand urgently.”

NIWA has reported a dry and warm January also led to the rapid depletion of soil moisture levels, which continued throughout February, with drier than normal soils across much of the country. In addition, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that the upper North Island has widespread meteorological drought conditions.

Water Alert Level 4 means

·         No use of outside water systems including sprinklers, drip lines, irrigation systems

·         No use of hoses

·         No filling up or topping up of swimming pools (including paddling or portable pools)

·         No outdoor cleaning (including cars)

·         No outdoor water toys (including slip and slides and toys that attach to hoses)

·         Water can be used for drinking, food preparation, hygiene and sanitary purposes only (including washing clothes and taking showers).

“Keen gardeners take note. Essential use means gardens can only be watered using collected rain water or greywater from inside your home. Put the hose down.”

Te Awamutu’s prized rose gardens will be maintained with watering once every three days using a separate untreated water supply used previously during high water restrictions.

Firefighting and emergency clean ups are exempt from this restriction.

“The Additional town water supply is currently under construction but with a completion date of mid-2021 the current supply will be under strain for one more summer. We need to be vigilant around water use,” Dyet said.

Commercial and industrial businesses, and rural residents with water tanks filled from Council trickle water supply, are also required to comply with the total outdoor water ban.

“Obviously a lot of our rural communities require water to run their farms and lifestyle blocks. We can’t have animals going without this basic necessity. We ask that non-essential water use stops immediately until the water restrictions are lifted.”

Council received a great tip from Te Awamutu resident Jenny Shere following the move to Alert 3 on 31 January.

“In an attempt to save water I have been washing dishes in a bowl instead of the sink and using the water when finished with to water plants and shrubs in the garden. I have also captured the last rinse water from the washing machine and used this in the same way.”

Cambridge and Kihikihi start Water Alert Level 1 on Wednesday 12 February. This means sprinklers only allowed between 6-8am and 6-8pm. Handheld hosing anytime.

Residents can subscribe to water alerts and see a list of water-saving tips at

Water alerts also in place in other Waikato areas

Sub-regional partner, Hamilton City Council, is now at water alert level 3 meaning water sprinklers are unable to be used and only hand-held hosing is allowed.  These restrictions also apply to Waikato District residents in Tauwhare, Matangi, Gordonton, Tamahere, Newstead/Eureka, Wallace Rd & Stonebridge Estate who are supplied from the Hamilton water network. The rest of Waikato district is not at a water alert.

Hamilton City Council Waters Manager says Waipā having to move to alert Level 4 is a good reminder to Hamilton residents to conserve their water use.

“Hamilton city is currently at Water Alert Level 3 – the first time in seven years that we have had to make this move. We all need to make a concerted effort to save and conserve our water use so we can avoid moving further increasing alert levels during the summer period.”

“We can all do our bit, whether it’s taking shorter showers, using a broom to clean outside areas instead of a hose, or avoiding washing the car for a few weeks – it all makes a massive difference to keeping usage within a manageable limit”, says Ms Porter. 

Waipā District Council has developed a tool for residents to see what water alert level applies to their property. Visit and enter your property address to find out.

For tips on how conserve water at home, head to the Smart Water website,

Smart Water Starts with You! is as sub-regional summer campaign aiming to make long-term change to how we use water and is a joint venture between Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipā District Council.

For more information, contact: Karen Cousins,  027 300 5232.

© 2022. All rights reserved.