Water Supplies

Council provides potable (drinkable) water supplies in the Otorohanga and Kawhia communities, and also operates and administers (on behalf of the scheme members) a number of water supply schemes in the rural areas, the primary purpose of which is to provide water for agricultural activities.


Urban Water Supplies

The water supplies for Otorohanga and Kawhia are 'on demand' systems designed to provide adequate continuous water pressure and quality. The Otorohanga water supply draws and treats water from the Waipa River, whilst the Kawhia water supply draws and treats water from springs in the community.


Rural Water Supply Schemes

There are four such schemes in the District, which supply water primarily for agricultural purposes on a 'trickle feed' basis which requires connected properties to install storage tanks to provide for higher peak water demands.

The establishment of these schemes was initially funded by properties that would be served by those schemes, and the control of those schemes remains with water users, with Council only fulfilling operational and administrative roles.

The general terms and conditions in relation to supply of water from the Rural Water Supply Schemes are set out in the attached document.


Need for Water Conservation

All of Council's water supplies have relatively limited supply capacity, and as such (and in the interests of good environmental management) measures to reduce water use are encouraged, and in some cases required. Details of how you can reduce water consumption are available on the Water Conservation page.

Formal restrictions of the use of water for non-essential purposes may be imposed by Council at times of peak demand. Such restrictions are routinely applied in the Kawhia Community over the Christmas / New Year period.

Limitations on the water supply in Kawhia means that there will always be some risk of water shortages during this peak demand period unless water is used very carefully.


Common Water Supply Issues

Discoloured Water
Over long periods a layer of very fine silt may build up on the bottom of some water supply pipes. When an unusually strong flow of water occurs in these pipes (which may happen for a variety of reasons) this silt is mixed with the water and 'dirty water' may be created for a brief period of time.

Such discoloured water (generally in a shade of grey) is unattractive, but it does not pose a risk to health. If discoloured water is observed, and it is not considered suitable for the intended use, run the water to waste until it clears. Discoloured water does not permanently stain clothes washed in it.


Changes in Water Taste

Some people are sensitive to very small variations in the taste of water, and such variations may on occasions occur in the Council supplies, particularly in Otorohanga during the summer when the Waipa River is very low.


Flushing Taps

The water provided by Council supplies may very slowly dissolve the metal of household pipes and plumbing fittings. This a very natural process, but one which can result in heavy metals such as copper being present in the water if it lies in the pipes or fittings for a long period.

It is therefore recommended that before using water for food preparation or drinking, taps should be run for two or three seconds to flush out any water that is so affected.


Responsibility for Water Pipes

Council is generally responsible for a water pipe serving an individual property up to the boundary of that property with council owned land, or up to the point where that pipe splits away from another pipe that serves more than one property. Beyond this point the pipes (and the maintenance of them) becomes the responsibility of the property owner(s) through which they pass.


Charges for Water Supply

Most residential consumers in Otorohanga and Kawhia pay a Uniform Annual Charge for water supply, whilst larger commercial or industrial water users pay for water based on actual water consumption measured by a water meter.

Because of the limited capacity of the Kawhia water supply, properties first developed or significantly extended after 30 June 2009 will be subject to Peak Season Metered Water Charges, which impose relatively high charges for the metered volume of water used between 20 December and 20 February.

All water consumers outside of the urban communities (including the Rural Water Supply Schemes) pay for water on a metered basis, but some of the Schemes also have a fixed charge component.

Charges are also applicable when new connections to water supplies are established, or an existing property is redeveloped in a manner that is likely to result in a significant increase of water use. For further information on this refer to the page on development contributions.

Details of the current fees and charges relating to water supply.