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Saving water

It’s important we all work together to save water.

Our Water Watchers Plan replaces traditional outdoor water restrictions with a year-round plan to help maintain our city’s water supply. Check out the plan to find out how you can use water at home, work and in the community.

How are we tracking?

This dashboard is updated regularly and provides an overview of how our stream flow levels are looking, how much water we are producing, and how much precious water, per person, we are using.

Our Water Sources

Tauranga’s drinking water comes from two aquifer-fed streams – the Tautau and Waiorohi. When stream flow levels are low, we’re restricted as to how much water we can take. The percentage shows  the current stream-flow compared to the 10-year average. In late 2022, we’ll have access to a third water source.

Water Production Levels

Two water treatment plants produce our city’s drinking water. We restrict water use when we’re close to our water treatment plants’ production capacity. We do this to ensure our treatment plants aren’t running at 100 per cent as this puts pressure on our resources and the plants. Find out how our water is treated.

Our Daily Usage

Water plays an important role in our daily lives, so we need to work together to conserve it. Rather than our water use peaking over summer, we want to try keep water use consistent throughout the year. Our new Water Watchers Plan helps enable this.

Tauranga city’s water use

Tauranga’s 7-day average water use sits around 43.7 million litres of water per day and in previous summers has climbed to 58 million litres per day. However, after three dry summers in a row, the streams that supply the city with water are at the lowest levels seen going into summer, which means anything higher than 50 million litres per day is unsustainable this summer.

Tauranga water usage

Water use in this graph is reflected as a ‘rolling’ measure. This means daily numbers are expressed as a rolling average over 7 days – smoothing incidental peaks and highlighting trends instead of isolated extremes. This graph is updated weekly on a Tuesday. 

Additional note to explain water use:

  • Water use in the graph is measured in m3 (cubic metres)
  • 1 cubic metre equals 1000 litres
  • 50,000 cubic metres equals 50 million litres. 

How can I save water at home?


  • Fix any leaking taps, pipes or cisterns. A leaky tap could drop up to 3 litres of water per day.
  • Put a jug of water in your fridge for instant cold water.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is full before you use it.
  • Scrape dirty dishes rather than rinsing. Modern dishwashers can take it!
  • Put the plug into the sink to wash dishes or scrub vegetables. Don’t leave the water running; taps use up to 6 litres of water per minute. You could save around 20 litres of water.


  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth. You could save up to 5 litres of water!
  • Take shorter showers. A shower uses 10-12 litres of water per minute so cutting your shower by just one minute saves more than you expect.
  • Collect water from your shower for watering your garden – this could be around 20 litres for your garden.
  • Use the short toilet flush when you can, that uses about half the water of a full flush. The average flush uses between 6 and 32 litres of water, so using a half flush can help a lot.


  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
  • Use a bucket to wash your car rather than a hose – you could save up to 100 litres of water!
  • Wash your car on the grass.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paths.
  • Install a rainwater tank.

Rainwater is a great alternative and free resource. By collecting and using rainwater when possible, demand on council’s water supply is reduced and the cost of your water bill goes down. You can use rainwater for:

  • watering your garden
  • washing your car
  • supplying your washing machine and toilet
  • topping up spas and swimming pools.

If you want to install a rainwater tank you need to decide whether you want to collect rainwater for outdoor use only, or to plumb it to the house to use as non-drinking water. This will determine the size of your tank.

For outdoor use, you may only need a barrel or a small tank, which is easy to install. You can learn how to do it from workshops organised by environment trusts. Simple barrels start at 200 litres.

For indoor use, you will need a bigger tank. Think ahead about the plumbing, backflow prevention and applying for consents. If the tank is plumbed into your house for indoor use you will need a building consent. Resource consents may be required for tanks used for indoor and/or outdoor use. We are currently reviewing consenting rules with the aim of publishing guidance on consenting requirements prior to next summer.

This is more effort than for a barrel, but your reward will be in higher water savings. Most domestic-use tanks are 3000 to 5000 litres. If you’re aiming for self-sufficiency, your tank should be at least 20,000 to 25,000 litres.

We support the installation of rainwater tanks but they are currently not mandatory as part of new development across the city. We are currently reviewing our stance on rainwater tanks and will update the community on the outcomes in late 2022.

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