Tauranga water: calls to save more

City water tanks in Oropi. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Tauranga City Council is urging residents and visitors to follow the Water Watchers Plan and save more water.

Despite the sprinkler ban already in place, flow levels of streams that provide us with water are at record lows due to the particularly hot and dry period of weather we are experiencing.

With little rain in sight, council officials are asking everyone to play their part to conserve water.

Usually, during the summer period, the city experiences a 30 per cent spike in water use with people using more outdoors.

The city is rapidly reaching that number, which is unsustainable this summer due to low stream levels says water services manager Peter Bahrs.

“After three dry summers, and the hot weather we have been experiencing this season, the flow level in the streams that the city draws its water supply from are at record lows,” says Peter.

“We want to thank those who are playing their part and following the Water Watchers Plan to help reduce their water use. We need everyone to follow the plan as a minimum, and to save more water wherever they can.

“We’re trying to prevent the need to introduce tougher restrictions, but if people don’t follow the plan and our stream levels become critical, we may have to do so.”

In the event that the demand does not decrease and stabilise, council will need to implement their emergency plan which will result in more severe outdoor water restrictions, including a hose ban.

In November 2021, council introduced its Water Watchers Plan which replaced traditional outdoor watering restrictions with a year-round plan to help maintain the city’s water supply and provide everyone with clarity about how they can use water at home, at work and in the community.

As part of the plan, sprinklers are banned completely from December to March, but handheld hoses with a trigger nozzle are allowed for a maximum of an hour between 7-10pm.

Other outdoor water uses, such as filling pools as well as washing houses and cars, are also restricted.

Council is currently building a new water intake and treatment plant alongside the Waiāri Stream, near Te Puke, which is expected to be ready near the end of 2022.

Other potential water sources are also being investigated.

To find out more about the Water Watchers Plan, visit: www.tauranga.govt.nz/waterwatchers

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Posted on 22-01-2022 13:43 | By morepork

There are 16000 desalination plants in 177 countries round the world. A plant of the size required for Tauranga would cost $NZ90 million. Excuse the pun, but that is a "drop in the bucket" compared to the millions being wasted on committees, consultants, huis, and settling whakapapa violation claims, without any clear sign of a resolution over water. We can and should be able to just do this and guarantee pure water for at least the next 75 years. And it has no dependency on ground water or climate change. There is a limitless supply of water on our doorstep; it’s called the Pacific Ocean... We use 50 million litres per day (averaged across Winter/Summer) and pay $2.90 per 1000 litres. At that rate the plant would pay for itself in 3 years... And yet, it is not even being considered.

Water Saving

Posted on 22-01-2022 10:53 | By peanuts9

If TCC are serious about this plan, then they need to police it better. Around here, I seem to be the only one observing the times. Other gardens are watered, by sprinklers and hoses when it suits. No-one has a bore and all think the rules don’t apply to them. That’s about par for Tauranga.

Have to agree With Murray

Posted on 21-01-2022 21:57 | By The Caveman

The volume of water coming down the Wairoa River is HUGE, and taking a little bit of it would make no difference to the river system.

ALL good questions Murray !!

Posted on 21-01-2022 21:52 | By The Caveman

The Council charge me rates !! Those rates come with certain expectations as a ratepayer - that includes the supply of WATER, that the council actually charges for on a "user pays basis". I will therefore use as much as I need for my garden as I pay the council for my water !!! OH and unlike the council I do have substantial water tanks for dry periods, that I use first, BUT when they run out, I will use the councils unlimited supply !!!!! (that they should have).


Posted on 21-01-2022 17:21 | By Informed

People in glass houses pointing fingers at TCC staff. Nice alternative facts. But wouldn’t be nice if TCC was responsible for low stream flows. I’m sure it has nothing to do with climate change and a new treatment plant can’t treat water that isn’t flowing.

other methods of water supply

Posted on 21-01-2022 13:57 | By Steve@GSD

Why are TCC not looking into other methods of water supply such as a desalination plant - which could be solar powered? Or, rerouting storm water from the just going into the sea? Or, a piping network for clean usable bore water to people’s homes to be used for outdoor uses at a shared use and cost system. A seriously forward thinking Council knowing that growth / demand will increase should be planning for the future. Maybe there are better ideas than these, if so what are they?


Posted on 21-01-2022 13:46 | By tabatha

The number of water managers and assistant managers has or was greater than workers. I wonder actually spend a whole day working, rumour has that some workers, across the whole council, go to work to have a coffee and then leave early and oops arrive late. Hope this is wrong. Murray agree about planning or lack of. Good planners look at how many per year build and plan for the future. Unfortunately we are stuck. A possible start would be some of the water department higher ones fall on their sword and resign.

What is the TCC Staff 'PLAN', if any?

Posted on 21-01-2022 13:24 | By Murray.Guy

Tauranga City Council staff have seriously mismanaged the supply of water to out city, despite it being a ’user pays and developer pays’ activity area of Council. What I’m looking for from Tauranga City Council is, firstly, an apology; second, clear advice from staff what they have in place to mitigate their mistakes and to meet our cities growth needs (aside from the Te Puke Waiari scheme for Papamoa and Te Puke that was consented 11 years ago and delayed by staff) such as increased treatment and storage capacity, alternative water source (EG: Wairoa River); thirdly, what building incentives for ’new builds’ such as rainwater tanks, recycling grey water on site; and finally, what reduction in the water availability charge to expect on our rates given waters very restricted availability?

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