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Update on Tararua Water Supplies

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Water levels in local supplies remain low following another hot and dry weekend across the district. Conservation efforts can make a significant difference to supply and if we are able to decrease our usage, we will be better placed to get through this event. We have prepared an update on the supplies with one common theme - we still need your help to conserve water. Water supplies not listed below continue to be on a Total Hosing Ban and people in these areas are encouraged to conserve water wherever possible. Please note, the units in the graphs provided are in m3. If you would like to know what this is in litres you will need to multiply it by 1,000 - e.g. 50m3 is 50,000 litres. Eketahuna and Pahiatua

While Eketahuna and Pahiatua have been less impacted by water shortages than other towns to date, the hot and dry weather is expected to continue. It is now time for people in these areas to further ramp up their water conservation efforts. Without significant conservation, these towns are likely to head towards an "essential use only" water restriction within the next 2-3 weeks - i.e. water for cooking, drinking and personal hygiene (showers and washing clothes etc). Dannevirke

Dannevirke remains in a stable balance of supply versus town demand. We are currently able to draw water from the river (under an emergency take) and meet the town’s demand, as well as add a small amount into the impounded reservoir most days. The more water we are able to save, the more water we will be able to add to the reservoir. Having water in the impounded reservoir is crucial in the event that we are no longer able to take from the river (or if the amount we are allowed to take is lowered). Since the announcement that Dannevirke water was at critical levels in February, the town has come together and made a massive effort to conserve water and have decreased their average daily use by over 1 million litres.


The Norsewood community has been working on reducing their usage, with a daily target of 50m3. While the community was close to the target in the first week, usage has been up and down in the second week (see graph below) resulting in an overall upward trend in use. If the community are unable to lower their usage to the target (or as near as possible) then it is likely that the town will move to an "essential use only" water restriction - i.e. water for cooking, drinking and personal hygiene (showers and washing clothes etc).


Woodville is beginning to see a drop in usage since residents were asked to further conserve water. This is great to see and Council would like to thank people for their continued efforts.

It has been noted that there is some confusion around how many days of supply are left in the reservoir. It is hard to put an exact number on this and it is best explained as follows:

If people continue to conserve water as they have been these last two weeks, then there will be more days of supply (close to 30) and this will give us a reprieve while we await the next rainfall. If water usage creeps back up, then there will be less days of supply (close to 20) and this leaves us with less time to wait for rain. Essentially, every litre conserved delays the need to escalate to an "essential use only" water restriction - i.e. water for cooking, drinking and personal hygiene (showers and washing clothes etc).

Rural Communities

The key message to people in rural areas continues to be - if you have no water, let us know. Council is coordinating with certified water suppliers to deliver water to those who need it most. While there is a cost to water deliveries, Council is working alongside the Rural Support Trust and a number of organisations to provide advice and where necessary, links to financial support. To register your needs, go to Also, a small reminder to ensure water collection containers are thoroughly cleaned and water from untreated sources is boiled before use.

For all other drought related matters, rural residents may contact Rural Support Trust Tararua Coordinator Jane Tylee on 027 367 3672 or visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website where they have information and advice for dealing with drought conditions:

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