One of the Tararua District Council's core strategies is to continue investment in core infrastructure. As part of this strategy, we are committed to building resilience in water, wastewater, stormwater, and roading networks. For more information on the Council's latest activities and current projects, please check the Projects section of our website or refer to the latest Annual Report

Tararua District Water Supplies Update

Update on Tararua District Water Supplies

Thursday 20 February 2020, 4:30pm

What’s happened?

Water levels in rivers and streams in the Tararua District are very low after a long period of hot and dry “drought-like weather” across the entire Manawatu-Whanganui region. In the Tararua District, a total hosing ban is in place.

Water levels in Dannevirke hit critically low levels last week and a letter drop was carried out on Friday 14 February 2020 to advise public of the severity of the situation and the urgent need for conservation to increase. A copy of the information included in the letter drop is available on the Council website: www.tararuadc.govt.nz/water

Council is actively monitoring and managing other water supplies across the district as the drought-like weather continues and an update on these supplies will be available early next week.


What’s happening now?

Since the Dannevirke letter drop, there has been a reduction in the demand for water with businesses and households actively conserving water and Council would like to thank people for their ongoing efforts. We would also like to thank Horizons Regional Council for their advice and support to date.

Efforts from around the table mean that we have reached a very delicate point of balance of supply (water coming in) versus demand (water going out). Despite having reached this delicate balance, it is absolutely critical that people continue to conserve water wherever possible. The support of the community will be essential to managing this going forward as the weather is forecast to continue to be hot and dry.

One way to conserve water is to check your home for dripping taps and leaking toilets. Leaks are a major source of wasted water and we are encouraging people to contact a plumber to fix these as soon as possible.

Council is taking a coordinated approach to this and will continue to provide updates as efficiently as we can. More information is available on the Council website, including tips on how to save water, visit www.tararuadc.govt.nz/water




Critical Water Shortage: Dannevirke

Important notice: We need your help to conserve water, now more than ever.

Drought‐like weather conditions are forecast to continue and there is no significant rainfall forecast through the next four weeks.

Without urgent water conservation across the district, Council will be forced to move to an “Essential Use Only” restriction within the next 5‐10 days.

Essential Use Only means no outdoor use of water ‐ water will be restricted to use for cooking, drinking and cleaning (personal hygiene).


Why is this happening?

  • Council has a Resource Consent to draw raw water from the Tamaki River to supply the Dannevirke township and properties outside of the town boundaries with drinking‐water
  • The river is currently at its lowest on record since the 1970’s and drought‐like weather conditions have meant that Horizons Regional Council has now capped what Council may take from the river (capped at 54 litres per second)
  • For the last three months, demand for water in Dannevirke has been more than what Council is allowed to take from the river. To manage this Council has been supplementing supply with water from the Dannevirke impounded water reservoir on Laws Road. 


What is council doing about it?

Council is taking all practical measures to ration the water left in the impounded reservoir so we may continue to supplement supply. However, with no significant rainfall predicted in the next four weeks, even if these measures work we will empty the reservoir inside the next 30 days.

Actions taken by Council include (but are not limited to):

  • Active monitoring of the water supply
  • Total hosing ban in place
  • Leak detection services actively scanning the network to find and report leaks to Council so that they may be promptly fixed
  • Communicating with the community about the urgency of conservation – letter drops, signage, social media


What can you do to conserve water?

  • Cook food in as little water as possible (this also helps it retain more nutrients!).
  • Showers are one of the biggest culprits in the home for water usage, shortening your shower by a minute or two can save up to 500 litres per month – even turning off the water while washing your hair can make a huge difference.
  • Turning off the water while you brush your teeth can save up to 15 litres a minute. That’s up to 750 litres a week for a family of four!
  • Be a leak detective! A dripping tap can waste up to 90 litres of water per week. Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  • When you find yourself with really grubby hands, fill the basin rather than washing under the running tap.
  • Using a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways will save water every time!
  • Know where your master water shut‐off valve is located. Were a pipe to burst, this could save litres of water and prevent damage.
  • Wait until you have a full load of washing before using your washing machine. A full load uses less water than two half loads.
  • Water your garden with greywater (recycled water) e.g. bath water, washing machine and dishwasher water
  • Watering the garden in the heat of the day can cause leaf burn and excessive evaporation, wait until a cooler time of the day before watering plants or gardens.
  • Flushing the toilet uses between 5 and 12 litres every time – flush when you need to and avoid using the bog as a bin!

Council appreciates the efforts that the community has made to reduce water consumption so far this summer. However we must increase our collective water conservation efforts to try to avoid the need for more drastic restrictions to be imposed.

Click here for a Fact Sheet with further information (152KB pdf)


Current water restrictions in place

Total hosing ban

  • Akitio
  • Norsewood
  • Dannevirke
  • Pahiatua
  • Woodville
  • Pongaroa
  • Eketahuna


Restriction definitions

Total hosing ban means

  • No sprinklers
  • No soak hoses
  • No irrigation systems
  • No hosing of gardens
  • No washing of vehicles, buildings or boats

Alternate day restrictions means

Hoses may only be used on alternate days, i.e. houses with even street numbers on even days and houses with odd street numbers on odd days.