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Water ConservationPenapenanga wai

We all need to use water wisely and more efficiently, especially in summer when there is increased demand. Check out our tips and tricks to help you save water in and around your home.

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Know our Water Hawke's Bay

We’re encouraging our Hawke's Bay residents to really get to know our water this summer.

To gain a greater understanding and build a better relationship with our unique resource, how we use water, why we need to look after it, and how to do that.

Wise-up on the whys and the ways of smart water use, Hawke’s Bay.

The why

Here in the Hawke’s Bay, we’ve got something pretty special. It’s our precious freshwater – and it connects us all.

Freshwater is a finite resource – we’ve got to look after it. If we take more out than we need, or if we don’t protect it, the whole environment is affected – both above and below ground. So it’s our responsibility to keep that balance right.

Our water sources

Where does it come from? All of our Hastings District Council community water supplies source water from underground aquifers and springs with sources at Waimarama and Whirinaki drawing from shallow bores that have some connectivity to the nearby surface waters.

Hastings District Council’s water use is governed by consents issued by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. These consents limit the amount of water we can take and set conditions that we must abide by.

Water is the lifeblood of the region; it supports our economic prosperity, our lifestyle and our well-being.

Most of our water comes from the Heretaunga Plains aquifer. As we take more water from the aquifer this can impact on the amount of water flowing in our streams and rivers and potentially cause them to run dry during dry periods.

Just how much water does Hastings have?

Hastings District Council has a consent from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to take 15.80 million cubic metres of water per year for the Hastings urban drinking water supply (Flaxmere, Bridge Pa, Paki Paki, Hastings and Havelock North). In the 2021/22 year, 14.84 million cubic metres of water was abstracted for distribution to the community. It also holds consents to draw varying amounts of water for the nine small community water supplies.

Being more mindful over summer

Our drinking water, our washing water. Our cool off in the pool water. When the sun is shining and our water use is on the up – it’s the responsibility of all of us to use water wisely so that we preserve the resource, protect the environment, and make sure we all have enough - especially during our long hot summers.

The main function of the Council-supplied water system is to provide water for drinking and hygiene, although when it is abundant we also use it for things like washing cars and watering gardens and lawns.

While we should always be mindful of not wasting this precious resource, it is particularly important to reduce use during dry seasons by putting off cleaning the car, letting the lawn brown off, and reducing garden watering to a minimum.

Why do we have water restrictions?

Water restrictions in summer play an important role in reducing our community impact on the aquifer, rivers and streams that we all value, at a time when they are under the most stress.

During the summer dry period many parts of New Zealand put water restrictions and bans in place - a measure of how important sustainable water use is.

In summer our local water consumption skyrockets and we use nearly twice as much as we do in the winter time. This is mostly due to people watering lawns and gardens.

How water restrictions play a part

We expect to use more water during hot weather but we have to get smarter about how we use our water with a focus on having enough for drinking, cooking and washing/cleaning.

Restrictions help ensure that our water use is sustainable and that we don’t breach our water consent.

As well as sustained pressure on the aquifer, when the community is using a lot of water our pumps that push the water through the network and to reservoirs on the Havelock hills are running at full speed. At times, those people at the end of the mains can have significant reduction in their level of service during periods of peak usage.

Find out what water restriction level we are on at the moment here

Wait, what about councils water use over summer?

During dry times, Council reduces the watering of public gardens and waters at night when there is less load on the system, stops grass watering except where it is required for health and safety reasons (sports fields), and limits splash pad operation to the times when they are most used. Council is also well into a programme of replacing old-style irrigation systems on sports grounds with modern pop-up systems which use water more efficiently.

By all of us doing our bit we can ensure there will be enough drinking water for everyone, the environment is protected, and we don’t breach our Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Resource Consent water limits.

The ways

Being mindful of water usage looks different for everyone. The key thing is that the little changes do all add up. Here are a few water-saving tips that can make a difference.


Tips for saving water inside the home

  • Check for leaks and fix any leaking taps, pipes and cisterns
  • Use 'eco' settings on dishwashers and washing machines if available and don’t run them unless they are full
  • Scrape dirty dishes rather than rinsing
  • Turn off taps while brushing teeth
  • Take shorter showers
  • Limit toilet flushing: if it's yellow let it mellow
  • Store drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap cold


Tips for saving water outside the home

  • Follow the water restrictions when in place
  • Don't water the concrete, use a directional sprinkler
  • Reuse 'grey water' from the washing machine on lawns and gardens where possible
  • Use a bucket of water when washing the car rather than the hose
  • Use a broom to clean paths rather than hosing
  • Put off topping up swimming pools and use a cover to minimise evaporation
An average toilet flush uses 5-12 litre of water
A dripping tap can waste up to 33 litres of water per day.
In New Zealand, a family of four uses around 233,000 litres of freshwater per year.
A shower over five minutes uses more water than you'd need for a bath.
Using mulch in your garden can save up to 73% of your watering from evaporation.

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