Water Restrictions

1. Overview

Horowhenua District Council issues water restrictions to conserve water when river levels drop due to dry weather conditions, or when demand for water increases beyond the capacity of the water treatment plant to safely supply water that meets National Drinking Water Standards.

Water restrictions range from Level 1 to Level 4, with Level 1 being the least severe and Level 4 being the most severe.

2. When are the restrictions put in place?

Council draws water from rivers and groundwater under resource consents. The conditions of these consents and the demand for water set the trigger levels for Council to issue water restrictions.

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Levin Ohau river flows less than 2500L/s but greater than 1500L/s and water demand greater than 10000m3/day Ohau river flows less than 1500L/s but greater than 1000L./s and water demand greater than 11000m3/day Ohau river flows less than 1000L/s but greater than 820L/s and water demand is greater than 12000m3/day Ohau river flows is less than 820L/s
Shannon & Tokomaru High Town Demand High Town Demand High Town Demand Tokomaru Riverland Farm flow is less than 220L/s and excessively high town demand
Foxton & Foxton Beach High Town Demand High Town Demand Excessive town demand
Electrical Conductivity ≥75mS/m
Excessive town demand – WTP capacity limit
Electrical Conductivity ≥100mS/m

Water restrictions are usually in place for Foxton and Foxton Beach over the summer to ensure water continues to safely meet National Drinking Water Standards when there is higher-than-normal demand due to the large number of visitors.

3. What do water restrictions mean for me?

The conditions attached to water restrictions depend on the level that has been issued. These are detailed below.

Please note: If water restrictions have been issued, please contact Council prior to any major water use to confirm whether the activity you need water for is permitted.

Level 1 Water Supply Restrictions

Purpose Level 1 Conditions
Private gardens - watering
  • Soaker hoses and garden sprinklers may only be used during the hours of 5:00am to 7:00am and 7:00pm to 9:00pm on alternate days as follows. Houses with even street numbers on even dates and houses with odd numbers on odd dates.
  • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets can be used at any time.
Public Parks, gardens and road reserves – watering Sprinklers and soak hoses allowed for 4 hours every other day - from town supply
Paved areas – cleaning Hosing of paved areas is prohibited unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency.
Private Swimming Pools or Spas – filling or topping up All pools may be filled and/or topped up at any time

Level 2 Water Supply Restrictions

Purpose Level 2 Conditions
Private gardens - watering
  • Garden sprinklers and soak hoses must not be used at any time.
  • Handheld hoses may only be used during the hours of 5:00am to 7:00am and 7:00pm to 9:00pm on alternate days as follows. Houses with even street numbers on even dates and houses with odd numbers on odd dates.
  • Watering cans and buckets can be used on your odd/even dates at any time.
Public Parks, gardens and road reserves – watering Watering by bore water only
Paved areas – cleaning Hosing of paved areas is prohibited unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency.
Private Swimming Pools or Spas – filling or topping up
  • Newly constructed swimming pools must not be filled.
  • Existing swimming pools and spas can only be topped up using a garden hose between the hours of 6:00am to 8:00am and 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesdays.
  • Portable paddling pools of no more than 100L may be filled using a garden hose at any time.
Boat Washing Facilities Facility water flow restricted to 1.5L/min

Level 3 Water Supply Restrictions

Purpose Level 3 Conditions
Private gardens - watering
  • Garden sprinklers and soak hoses must not be used at any time
  • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets may only be used on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the hours of 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Public Parks, gardens and road reserves – watering Watering by bore water only
Paved areas – cleaning Hosing of paved areas is prohibited unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency.
Private Swimming Pools or Spas – filling or topping up
  • Newly constructed swimming pools and spas must not be filled. Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up or filled
  • Filling up of portable swimming pools is strictly prohibited.
Water Refilling Station
- 122 Hokio Beach Road
  • Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required for PIN activation, for purposes other than drinking water
  • Fire and Emergency NZ & DWA accredited carriers – no restriction with valid permits
Boat Washing Facilities Facility close down
Commercial Swimming Pools – schools, etc Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required
Private household window and general house exterior cleaning and water blasting
  • Allowed 1 hour per day of water blasting.
  • The restrictions on the use of water for cleaning windows do not apply where cleaning is required as a result of accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency
Commercial window cleaning and house exterior washing (including pre-painting wash) Allowed 1 hour per day of water blasting.
Construction industry – use of water Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required before any water is used for Construction purposes and a water conservation plan must be submitted.
Commercial Car Wash (including Motor Vehicle Dealers) Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required
Vehicles:
Cleaning of private cars, trucks, boats, jet skis, motorbikes and bicycles
Water must not be used to clean vehicles unless cleaning is required for health or safety reasons. Cleaning for health and safety reasons must be undertaken using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps

 Level 4 Water Supply Restrictions

Purpose Level 4 Conditions
Private gardens - watering
  • Garden sprinklers, soak hoses and handheld hoses must not be used at any time
  • Flower and vegetable gardens may be watered using watering cans or buckets filled from a tap on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 7pm and 9pm only.
Public Parks, gardens and road reserves – watering Watering by bore water only
Paved areas – cleaning Hosing of paved areas is prohibited unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency.
Private Swimming Pools or Spas
– filling or topping up
  • Newly constructed swimming pools and spas must not be filled. Existing swimming pools and spas must not be topped up or filled
  • Filling up of portable swimming pools is strictly prohibited.
Water Refilling Station
- 122 Hokio Beach Road
  • Only DWA accredited carriers will have active PIN access with current and valid permits.
  • No restriction for Fire and Emergency NZ
Boat Washing Facilities Facility close down
Commercial Swimming Pools – schools, etc Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required
Commercial market garden or plant nursery – watering of plants
  • Sprinklers must not be used without the written authority of the Council’s Performance and Technical Manager.
  • Handheld hoses, watering cans or buckets may be used at any time
Private household window and general house exterior cleaning and water blasting
  • Water must not be used for any exterior cleaning
  • The restrictions on the use of water for cleaning windows do not apply where cleaning is required as a result of accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency
Commercial window cleaning and house exterior washing (including pre-painting wash)
  • Water jetting/blasting must not be used.
  • Water Containers up to 30Litres per day, filled from the tap can be used. Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required for more than 30Litres per day.
Construction industry – use of water Preapproval from Council’s Performance and Technical Manager is required before any water is used for Construction purposes and a water conservation plan must be submitted.
Commercial Car Wash
(including Motor Vehicle Dealers)
Must not operate
Vehicles:
Cleaning of private cars, trucks, boats, jet skis, motorbikes and bicycles
Water must not be used to clean vehicles unless cleaning is required for health or safety reasons. Cleaning for health and safety reasons must be undertaken using watering cans or buckets filled directly from taps

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To provide more information on why we need water restrictions, when they are imposed and what they mean for you, we have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions below.

Does Council have to impose water restrictions?

Yes. Council has to impose water restrictions to ensure a continuous supply for everyone during very dry weather conditions as well as meeting compliance requirements with Resource Consent conditions. Also, some users do waste water during these dry periods; it is not uncommon to see lawns being irrigated with water overflowing onto the road. These types of practices do not help the situation.

What triggers water restrictions in Levin?

Water restrictions in Levin are triggered by dropping river flows in the Ohau River. Horowhenua District Council implements Level 1 restrictions for Levin when the river flow is at 2500 litres per second (L/s), Level 2 at 1500L/s, Level 3 at 1000L/s and Level 4 at 820L/s.

What triggers water restrictions in Shannon and Tokomaru?

Water restrictions in Shannon and Tokomaru are triggered by dropping river flows in the Tokomaru Farmland River. Council implements Level 1 restrictions when the river flow is at 350L/s, Level 2 at 250L/s, Level 3 at 200L/s and Level 4 at 150L/s.

What triggers water restrictions in Foxton and Foxton Beach?

Water restrictions are usually in place for Foxton and Foxton Beach over the summer to ensure water continues to safely meet National Drinking Water Standards when there is higher-than-normal demand due to the large number of visitors.

How much water storage does Levin have?

The Levin Water Treatment plant stores one day’s supply of water, which is above average for New Zealand.

Why doesn’t Horowhenua have a water storage dam?

Few places in New Zealand have water storage dams. Dams are costly to construct and maintain however, providing additional storage will be considered over the coming years.

Why do I see Council contractors using water when restrictions are in place?

Council has a number of consents with Horizons Regional Council to extract water from bore holes for irrigation and general purposes. Council’s contractors use the bore water for operational activities.

How long will the restrictions last?

The MetService forecasts an unusually hot, dry summer. Council expects the water restrictions to remain in place for much of the summer.

How often will we have water restrictions in the future?

Due to New Zealand’s Mediterranean-type climate of hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, we can expect to have water restrictions most years.

What happens if someone breaches the water restrictions?

Council takes an educational approach to the enforcement of water restrictions. When Council is made aware of any breaches to the restrictions, the owner/occupant of the house or premises will be contacted by a Council Officer to discuss the reported breach. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the reported breach and the outcome of the discussion, the owner/occupant will be provided with information on the water restrictions and water conservation practices. If the breach is confirmed, the occupant will also be given a warning, which will be confirmed in writing.

Any repeated breaches may result in further action from Council, which can include, but is not limited to, restricting the supply of water to their property and/or installing a water meter.