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Water FAQs

Water is precious – it’s something we rely upon for everyday living as well as its contribution to our economy.

Our role at Hastings District Council is to ensure you have a safe, secure, sustainable drinking water supply delivered to you as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

This is not without challenges, and we are working to address those through a significant investment in water treatment and network upgrades.

To support this, we need the community’s help, especially through the summer season, so there is enough water for everyone.

water use monitorYou can view daily, monthly and yearly water use data, collected from Hastings District Council's water supply network on the Water Use Monitor page.

  • Hastings District Council takes water from aquifers and springs and can only take as much as our Hawke’s Bay Regional Council consent allows.
  • We have restrictions to reduce the community impact on the aquifers, rivers and streams, and so we don’t breach our resource consent.
  • Watering gardens and lawns is the main reason why consumption skyrockets in summer.
  • Hastings District Council is building new treatment plants and reservoirs to improve network efficiency and sustainability.

All of our Hastings District Council community water supplies source water from underground aquifers and springs. The only exception is the Whirinaki and Esk supplies which draw water from the Esk River.

Hastings District Council’s water use is governed by consents issued from the HB Regional Council. These consents limit the volumes of water we are able to take and sets conditions that we must abide by, including requirements to manage how much we take during peak summer conditions.

Water is the lifeblood of the region; it provides economic prosperity and most of our water comes from the Heretaunga Plains aquifer. The challenge for everyone in our district is that as we take more water from the aquifer our rivers and streams are drying up.

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 the country have water restrictions and bans - a measure of how important sustainable water use is.

In summer our 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.

We expect to use more water during hot weather but we have to get smarter about how we use our water while maintaining enough for drinking, cooking and washing/cleaning.

Restrictions are our way of ensuring 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 run out of water because of the high use.


  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is responsible for issuing resource consents for water bottling plants.
  • Water consented for bottling accounts for less than 0.12% of the Heretaunga aquifer resource.
  • Go to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council website for more information.

Water bottling plants (or any commercial operation that uses its own bore) are not tied to our water restrictions. Hastings District Council has a resource consent from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to draw water from the aquifer, with limits on how much is permitted to be taken and in a way that is sustainable.

The Regional Council is also responsible for issuing resource consents for water bottling plants, and its latest information shows:

  • In late 2016, the Regional Council voted to require water bottling consent applications to be publically notified. No new consent applications have been approved or received since then.
  • There is no more water to be allocated in the Heretaunga Plains for any use so we are extremely unlikely to have any more applications for water bottling.
  • There are currently 11 consents for water bottling, five are active.
  • Water consented for bottling accounts for less than 0.12% of the Heretaunga Aquifer resource.




  • On average we fix more than 2000 water leaks each year.
  • Hastings District Council is investing in replacing the pipe network and puts a priority on fixing leaks as quickly as possible.

The Hastings water supply is made up of more than 400kms of water mains and 23,000 individual water connections. With that many pipes and connections in the ground we are always going to have water leaks and they happen all year round.

On average, we attend more than 2000 water leaks per year – that’s an average of 40 a week, or about four a day.

To reduce the amount of leaks we have, the council is investing more in replacing older pipes and smaller pipes coming off the mains rather than repairing them. We have also put a priority on responding to and fixing water leaks as quickly as possible.

If you see water leaks please call 06 871 5000 and tell us where they are so we can get them fixed.

  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is responsible for private bore consents and any restrictions.

Private bores have consent from the Regional Council so Hastings District Council does not have any ability to restrict their use. However, the Regional Council can impose restrictions on private use if the situation worsens or a drought is declared.

We work closely with the Regional Council about having a more joined up approach – we want to get everyone doing the same thing at the same time.

  • Restrictions apply to Hastings District Council as well and we stop watering roundabouts at Level 3.
  • Some sports fields need to be irrigated for the safety of players.
  • Some parks have their own bores, such as the Hawke’s Bay racecourse and Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (A & P Showgrounds).

When water restrictions are in place they apply to Hastings District Council operations as well. At Level 3 (sprinkler ban, hand held hoses only on alternate days between 6am and 8am, and 7pm and 9pm) we turn off all irrigation of roundabouts.

Some sports fields still need to be watered for the safety of people playing sports on them, but we do reduce the frequency of watering during restrictions as much as possible. Some parks have their own bores and do not draw water from the Hastings supply (for example Hawke’s Bay racecourse, Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay, some schools, Mitre 10 Park Hawke’s Bay).

Our advice is to always use a cover to minimise evaporation.

  • Everyone pays the same fixed rate for water to get it safely from the bores to households, no matter how much you use.
  • We do meter and charge industrial and commercial users and larger lifestyle blocks that tend to use more water.

Having the water supply included in your rates does not entitle people to use as much water as they like.

Every urban residential property pays the same fixed rate for water no matter how much you use – your rates pay for the network to get it safely from the bores to your household but not for the quantity you use.

We do however meter and charge all industrial and commercial users and larger lifestyle blocks as they tend to use larger volumes of water.
Just like residential users, industrial and commercial users are also restricted from any use that is not essential to their business. They are not permitted to use irrigation systems or sprinklers

  • While we can prosecute anyone who persistently flouts water restrictions, we prefer to talk to people directly about how they can change their usage.
  • We regularly drive around the streets to identify illegal use and act on any information we receive from the public.

The vast majority of people abide by the water restrictions while they are in place but there are times when we need to take action against persistent offenders.

Council has powers under the Local Government Act to prosecute anyone who persistently flouts the water restrictions.

Our preferred approach, however, is to talk directly to those people who are not adhering to the restrictions, explain why they are in place and provide advice on ways to change their behaviour.

We also have the ability to install a meter and charge for their use, install a restrictor that limits the flow to the property and, as a last resort, take legal action.

Monitoring summer water use is also an important part of our water conservation plan. We are regularly driving around our streets and identifying illegal use. Green lawns are a dead giveaway so we also record these properties for follow up action.

We do act on any information we receive in regard to people not complying with the restrictions and we keep callers identities anonymous so if you want to report an issue you can contact us confidentially on 06 871 5000.


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