Current Water Restrictions

Water restriction system gauge for the Tararua District signage

Restriction Definitions

Alternate Day Restrictions

Hand-held hoses only on alternate days, i.e. houses with even street numbers on even days and houses with odd street numbers on odd days.

Alternate Evening Restrictions

Hand-held hoses only on alternate evenings between 7pm - 9pm i.e. houses with even street numbers on even nights and houses with odd street numbers on odd nights.

Total Outdoor Ban

You may not:

  • Use sprinklers
  • Use soak hoses
  • Use irrigation systems
  • Hose of gardens
  • Wash vehicles, buildings or boats

You may:

  • Use buckets and watering cans to water gardens

Essential Use Only

You may not:

  • Use water anywhere outside (unless is it recycled water/greywater)

You may:

  • Use water for cleaning and cooking
  • Use water to wash clothes and take showers
Under the Total Outdoor Ban restrictions, there is a process to apply for extraordinary water use. Council will consider exemptions, for example for businesses. After completing the form please submit it to info@tararuadc.govt.nz or bring it to one of our service centres. Our teams will then assess the request and contact you. The Application form is available here.

Latest Update: 12 January 2022

Further water restrictions in Dannevirke may be necessary

Council would like to thank the community for the water conservation efforts to date and for their help in reporting leaks. However, it is necessary that the community, including extraordinary users, rally together to further reduce water usage.

On 5th January 2022, Council was required to implement Total Outdoor Ban restrictions which led to some reduction in use. Without further water conservation in Dannevirke, Council will have to move from the current Total Outdoor Ban restrictions to an Essential Use Only restriction to prevent water from running out.

This means that water can only be able to be used for essential drinking, cooking and hygiene uses.

Dannevirke’s water is sourced from the Tamaki River and the water levels are dropping. Following recent dry weather, the river water flow has reduced to “low flows”, below 240 litres per second, which triggers a reduction in the rate of water Council can take. Council’s allowable take during “low flows” is less than the current daily usage for the town.

Typically, Council compensates in these circumstances by drawing water from the Dannevirke reservoir.  While this is now happening, Council has forecast this is not sustainable over summer as the reservoir was only able to be partly filled following the discovery of a leak that meant it had to be mostly emptied for urgent repairs.  The reservoir is approximately a third full at present.

Tararua District Council Mayor Tracey Collis says: “We would like to assure Dannevirke residents that there is enough water to go about the day to day activities of drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Other than this, we now need to come together in a collective effort to conserve water. Especially in Dannevirke, now is the time to rally together to adopt an ‘every drop counts’ approach and only use water when absolutely necessary. We’re starting to experience the impacts of climate change on our day to day lives, not only in Tararua but across New Zealand and the world. The conservation of water is being increasingly crucial to maintain our way of life. Water is becoming a scarce resource – let us work together to conserve it.”

As river levels are dropping throughout the region, Council is working closely with Horizons Regional Council to ensure water supply and is grateful for this support. Council has established a dedicated response team to manage this event to ensure security of water supplies in Dannevirke and the other towns in the district. We are also working closely with high water users to maximise the water savings available to them.  We are also looking to provide the community with water savings tips and ideas to ensure we collectively save every drop we can.

Under the current water restrictions, there will be a process to apply for extraordinary water use in which Council will consider exemptions, for example for businesses. Application forms will be made available at our service centres and on Council’s website. Given the seriousness of the current water situation, enforcement action may be required to be taken against those who do not adhere to the water restriction level.  The application form can be downloaded here. Please email it to info@tararuadc.govt.nz or drop into the nearest council service.

While Dannevirke is the priority at present, water levels in rivers are reducing across the district so an increased focus on water conservation is important in all our towns.

Pahiatua’s water restrictions:

Will move up a level to Alternate Night Restrictions, following reduced river levels and increased demand. This means hand-held hoses only on alternate evenings between 7pm - 9pm.

Woodville’s water restrictions:

Will be increasing to Alternate Days, now that the Mangapapa source is approaching low flows which require Council to stop taking any water.

Rain is forecast across the district for next week starting 17 January. This will help in the short term, however, is not expected to have a long-lasting effect.

Council will provide regular and continuing updates through the usual communication channels. We are very thankful to everybody for their efforts in conserving water, and for their patience, understanding and collaboration to help us maintain our water supply.


3 January 2022

Dannevirke's water restriction level is moving to Level 4 - Total Outdoor Ban, effective Wednesday 5 January 2022.

Following repairs to leaks, Tararua District Council (TDC) have been filling the impounded supply (raw water storage dam) when river levels allowed. Over recent months this has increased the depth of water from approximately 2 metres to nearly 8 metres. The water is 14 metres deep when full.

However, the Tamaki River is dropping and will soon enter low flows (less than 240 litres per second). At this point TDC will be restricted under a resource consent to take less water than Dannevirke is currently using – placing reliance on the water stored in the impounded supply.

It is likely that we are in for another hot and dry summer, with no guarantee on when the river will consistently be at higher flow, so TDC are implementing the increased water restriction to mitigate risks in late summer. While usage hasn’t been unusually high, it has still been higher than what TDC is allowed to take from the Tamaki River in low flow.

Chris Chapman, TDC’s Group Manager – Infrastructure, says “We have delayed increasing the restriction level until after the holiday break, but are now asking all users to play their part in reducing demand on Dannevirke’s water supply”.

TDC will also be progressing various initiatives to support water supply and demand management, in the meantime TDC needs the support of all users (through conservation) to prevent further issues later in summer and autumn – such as those during the 2019/20 summer. We appreciate that this will be frustrating for many and thank all for their understanding during this time.


21 December 2021

Council will be implementing Alternate Day restrictions to the Pahiatua water supply. This decision has been made as a precautionary measure after reviewing the extended forecast, which predicts long dry spells, and as Pahiatua’s water usage has increased over time. These dry periods could reduce the river level below where our infrastructure can take and therefore restrictions have been put in place.
Alternate Day Restrictions

Hand-held hoses only on alternate days, i.e. houses with even street numbers on even days and houses with odd street numbers on odd days.

Please note: Akitio water supply has increased to Total Outdoor Ban restrictions which is an annual water management activity.

This extended forecast also reinforces that water conservation is crucial over the summer months. With the increase in temperatures, Council is already seeing evidence of an increase in water usage to “beat the heat”. While this is expected during periods of hot weather, Council is asking residents to be mindful of their usage, reduce where possible and continue to adhere to the restriction levels in their town.

River levels and reservoirs are stable for now, however with extended dry spells forecast and if water usage trends continue as they are, Council may need to escalate water restrictions to the next level, a Total Outdoor Ban in Dannevirke.

As previously mentioned in our last update, Council has spent months inspecting and repairing Dannevirke’s impound supply after a leak was identified in July 2021.

During the inspection and repair period Council had to stop filling the impounded supply, with the purpose of confirming the height of any leak and reduce leakage. The identified damaged section had several splits, which was contributing significantly to the leakage. This section was removed and replaced, and the underlying protective layer was repaired to prevent future damage, before the cover was welded closed. Other areas in the reservoir were also inspected which meant further stoppages to filling the reservoir.

Due to this we have a comparatively reduced capacity coming into summer then we would normally. Therefore, from 1 December 2021, Dannevirke will head into Alternate Evening Restrictions (7pm – 9pm).

Alternate Evening Restrictions (7pm – 9pm).This means hand-held hoses only on alternate evenings between 7pm - 9pm i.e. houses with even street numbers on even nights and houses with odd street numbers on odd nights.

These increases are precautionary, and over recent weeks we have been filling the impounded supply with urgency. This has rapidly increased the height of water from ~2 metres to ~5 meters. There are some limitations when it comes to how fast we can refill due to our resource consent conditions and minimum river flows, as well as limits of our plant when it comes to taking water however our team are working hard to manage this as best we can.

While council works on its side to manage this, our residents can help us by conserving water where they can. The less water we send to town, the more we can send straight into the reservoir.

  • Make sure your tanks and swimming pools are full. Remember, covering your pool when not in use, can slash evaporation by 95 per cent.
  • Find and Fix Leaks. Finding and fixing leaking pipes around the house and your private property helps more then you may think. A single leaking bathroom tap can waste up to 33 litres each day!
  • Upgrading your appliances for Christmas. Retailers have the latest in water efficient appliances, meaning you can simply use less water by purchasing one which has an extra star on its water rating label.

More handy tips and even how to build a Rainwater Collection System


11 November 2021

Over the past four Months council and various suppliers have been investigating a leak in the Dannevirke impounded supply and providing our residents with updates when available.

Most Likely Cause

The unexpected effects of the 2020 drought is the best explanation for the leaks found at the Dannevirke impounded water supply.  The one in fifty plus year drought caused the ground to dry and contract which, when paired with the lowering reservoir level, exposed the plastic liner on the reservoir causing it to vibrate and wear until it finally failed from fatigue.  The splits found in the plastic liner allowed for water to start removing the protective clay layer below, exposing the liner to underlying stones which then increased the damage. Once the reservoir began refilling, only then did the leak become obvious, and water moving over the liner was able to be detected.

We still cannot say with 100% confidence the precise sequence of events leading to the major leak discovered to date, however we are taking the opportunity to assess various possibilities and prepare mitigation strategies to prevent a repeat situation.

Work Done to Repair this Issue

“With over 22,000 square metres of surface area, there has been a lot of area to assess. Initially it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.” said Council’s Group Manager – Infrastructure Chris Chapman.

Given that leaks of reservoirs with liners is rare, experts have had to come in from across the Country to investigate the source and points of the leak. We can now confidently say that our team has inspected all seams and points of suspicion.

Council also brought in an underwater drone on 2 separate occasions to assess the liner in the reservoir. With the first drone focusing on the bottom of the reservoir and assessing the “plug hole”, the point at the bottom which the water outlet is taken and fed to the treatment plant. There was no visible leak from this point. The second drone focused on the walls and liner, when the drone pointed up, we saw a tear in the cover and some small holes. We have now been able to expose this area for later repair as the weather again closed in for another fortnight.

Up to four tonnes of protective lime has been replaced and compacted below the liner covering the hillside metal that was exposed during the event.  In addition, an extra thick layer of geomembrane material has also been installed to mitigate this from reoccurring. In recent years, this extra layer has been considered best practice and was installed in the new Woodville water reservoir.

Next Steps

Since July, progress has been continually stalled due to poor weather. However, the impounded supply is now being filled and will be monitored closely for any further leakage. Improvements to monitoring devices on the cover (measuring the water depth) and at the drain discharge (measuring the flow of subsoil drain and possible leakage) are being completed.

We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience during this unprecedented event. We are still exploring ways to reduce pressure on our water supply without increasing restrictions for urban users. We are unsure what this looks like yet but will provide you with an update when we can.