Frequently asked questions

Why do we have water restrictions?

In summer, we often have a lot less rain than the rest of the year and on top of this, the amount of water people use increases (on things like watering gardens and filling up swimming pools).  The combination of these things puts pressure on our water supply.  Water restrictions are put in place to make sure there is enough water for everyone to use during this time.

What are the water restrictions?

There are different levels of water restrictions in place depending on what water alert level we are on. Official restrictions only relate to outdoor water use – but of course, we encourage you to be water wise all the time.

  • Level 1 means use water sensibly don’t waste a drop.
  • Level 2 means you can’t use sprinklers, hand-held hosing can be used at any time.
  • Level 3 means you can’t use sprinklers or hoses.
  • Level 4 means you can’t use water outside
We've been at Levels 1, 2 and 3 before - what would Level 4 be like?

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. Level 4 would require a significant reduction in our communities water use.

Will it be ok if we gets lots of rain?

Rain in Northland will be great for our farms, parks and gardens, and people using tank water at home or the bach but it won’t always restore the water levels in our dams. If rain is falling at your place, 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 always mean that our water supply is topped up and that we can ignore the water restrictions.

We will let everyone know once restrictions are lifted.

There's still water in the river and streams, so why do we need water restrictions?

The three Councils take water from various sources throughout the region.  These include dams, rivers, streams, springs and bores.

Councils (along with other users) can only take a certain amount of water from the different water sources. These rules make sure that everyone who is taking water uses it 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.

There's lots of water in the dams - why do we have to save water?

When the water in the rivers and streams get low we have to stop taking water.  The dams are the reserve and this water needs to be saved for when we need it most.

Why do we need to be careful with bore or spring water?

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).  Taking water sensibly from the bores and springs also means that we are protecting our future water supplies.

How can I learn more about using water wisely?

Check out our water saving tips for great ways to save water.

You can teach your children how to be a leak detective and save water!  Send us your tips too – every little bit helps!

What should I do if I see someone wasting water?

It would be great if you could start a friendly conversation with them and explain what water level the community is on and what that means for them and their water use if you feel comfortable doing that.

Do water restrictions apply to everyone?

Some business like car washes, garden centres and hairdressers need water to keep their business running. They need to use water wisely and we work with them to help them with ideas for saving water, like watering less frequently and recycling water whenever possible. If you are in the Far North District, it is possible to apply for an exemption to the water restriction, although these will be granted only to those who demonstrate significant hardship.