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Drinking Water FAQs

Drinking water: The lifeblood or our people, our environment and our economy

All Council-supplied public drinking water systems are chlorinated. Hastings District Council public supplies are: Hastings (including Havelock North, Flaxmere, Bridge Pa and Paki Paki); Clive, Omahu, Haumoana and Te Awanga, Waimarama, Waipatiki, Whakatu, Whirinaki/Esk Valley, and Te Pohue.

The Ministry of Health requires that all public water supplies be chlorinated as the best way to keep drinking water safe, unless a Council can prove that there are no faults in its network and that the supply is safe. Chlorination is accepted world-wide as the most effective way to rid water of harmful micro-organisms that can make people sick, including campylobacter.

‘At source’ water treatments, such as filters and UV, only treat water at the point of contact. Chlorine travels with the water, which means it protects the supply right through the system in the case of things like pipe breaks or faulty back-flow valves that might let untreated water into the system.

Water bottlers do treat their water. They have to comply with MPI rules as a ‘food’ producer and spend a great deal of money on treatment options at the point where the water comes out of the ground. The difference is that they don’t have a pipe network, so they don’t need to protect water for as long as councils do. They also don’t have risks associated with having thousands of connections into their supply which can, under certain conditions, back-flow contamination into the supply.

The water system is being dosed with Sodium Hypochlorite. This does not contain ammonia.

The dose rate is one part per million.

We are targeting a residual chlorine level of 0.7 parts per million (ppm). This will vary in the system depending on distance and location in the network. The Drinking Water Standards allow residual chlorine in the reticulation to range from a minimum 0.2 parts per million up to 1.5 ppm.

A public swimming pool typically has in the order of 10 times more chlorine than a public water supply.

Yes, Council tests chlorine levels at points right across the network.

Fluoride was re-introduced to the main Hastings-Havelock North supply in April 2024, after being paused as a result of the Havelock North drinking water crisis in 2016. In July 2022, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield directed 14 councils, including Hastings District Council, to add fluoride to some or all of their water supplies. You can find more on fluoridation and the Hastings drinking water supply here.

The water supplied from the drinking water filling station on Civic Square in Hastings will not be fluoridated or chlorinated, following an upgrade in early December.

The public taps in Flaxmere and Havelock North will dispense chlorine-removed fluoridated water and Whakatū and Haumoana chlorine-removed water with no fluoride added to these supplies.

In the main, residents whose homes or businesses are not connected to the Council-provided drinking water supply use private bores to supply their own water. The Ministry of Health and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have information on their websites for those residents, to help them keep their private water supplies safe.

Hastings District Council community water supplies are sourced mainly from underground aquifers and springs. The exception is the Whirinaki and Esk supply which draws water from the Esk River.

Yes, each of the eight supplies use rates are available live on the website here. It shows the current month and year-to-date water use data.

Almost everyone pays the same fixed rate to get water from the source to households and businesses. This payment is for the operation of the system, not for the water. Because it is not a charge for water, the payment does not entitle a property owner to use as much as they like, or to refuse to comply with restrictions.

In summer Hastings’ water use skyrockets to nearly twice as much as we use in winter. This is mostly due to people watering lawns and gardens. This can impact on our aquifer, rivers and streams at a time when low rainfall and hot weather means they are most stressed. The high water use also means we risk taking more than the amount Hastings is allowed under its Resource Consent conditions, and puts pressure on the pumping systems to keep up with demand, risking residents at the end of the lines not receiving water. Water restrictions help address all of these issues. While we expect to use more water during hot weather, we have to get smarter about how we use our water to ensure we all have enough for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning.

Properties using private bores, which includes some homes and many large properties such as orchards, Hawke’s Bay Racecourse and some schools, are not supplied from Council’s water supply network and therefore are not subject to Council restrictions. They may, however, be subject to restrictions imposed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which manages water take consents for all water users (including Hastings District Council).

No water bottling plants take water from the Hastings District Council water supply system, so therefore are not subject to Council restrictions. They may, however, be subject to restrictions imposed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which manages water take consents for all water users (including Hastings District Council).

For more information on consenting and managing water bottling, see Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s water water bottling page.

Restrictions do apply to Hastings District Council and we stop watering roundabouts and gardens at Level 3 (sprinkler ban, hand held hoses only on alternate days between 6am and 8am, and 7pm and 9pm).

Watering continues on summer sports pitches for health and safety reasons.

Some large properties and parks, including Hawke’s Bay racecourse, Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (A & P Showgrounds) and Splash Planet, have their own bores, which are not subject to Council restrictions. They may, however, be subject to restrictions imposed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which manages water take consents for all water users (including Hastings District Council).

Council prioritises fixing water leaks as soon as possible and has a renewal programme focused on replacing old pipes that are more prone to leaking.

Hastings public water supply is made up of more than 400kms of water mains and 23,000 individual water connections. On average, we attend more than 2000 water leaks per year – that’s an average of 40 a week, or about four a day.

If you see water leaks please call 06 871 5000 and report the location.

While those who persistently flouts water restrictions can be prosecuted, we prefer to talk to people about how they can change their usage.

We regularly drive around the streets to identify illegal use and act on information we receive from the public.

The vast majority of people abide by the water restrictions but there are times when we need to take action against persistent offenders. Under the Local Government Act Council has the ability to install a meter and charge for water use, install a restrictor that limits the flow to the property or, as a last resort, take legal action.

Members of the public can report water users not abiding by restrictions confidentially, by phoning 06 871 5000. 


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