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Common water questions or issues

Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about your drinking water.


Tauranga’s water supply is not currently fluoridated but a directive was received on the 27 July 2022, from the Ministry of Health that fluoridation of Tauranga’s water supply must be implemented by 31 July 2024.  

For more information please see the Government's recent media release.

Common questions about fluoride

Fluoridation of the city’s water will cost an estimated $3.6 million capital cost.  The Ministry has indicated that funding is available to assist with this cost, and has made $11.3 million available for the local councils given directives. We are awaiting information on the funding process and will update the community on the timeline when we know more.

Chlorine taste or smell

Chlorine is added to the drinking water in Tauranga to ensure the safety of the water, however, most people don’t notice it. If chlorine can be smelt in the water coming out from your household tap, you can use a water filter to remove the taste and odour. Or you can keep a jug of tap water in the fridge with the lid off and this should eliminate the chlorine taste.

Cloudy water 

Cloudy water, also known as white water, is caused by air bubbles in the water and it is completely harmless. It can be caused by trapped air due to work on the water mains. In the summer months, the warmer temperatures, combined with an increase in demand, can also cause air bubbles to form in the water.  To check if the water is cloudy due to air, just fill a glass with cold water and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes. The air bubbles should disappear and clear from the bottom of the glass upwards. If the water doesn’t clear you should contact Council or have a plumber check this.

Unusual taste or smell 

Tauranga draws its water from two different surface water sources and both sources have a natural, slight odour that is caused by the growth of plants and algae in the river.  The purification process removes most of the odour and is rarely detected in cold water.  It may be noticeable in warmer water, especially to visitors accustomed to the taste and odour of their own drinking water.

If you are sensitive to this taste/odour, try keeping a jug of fresh, cold, tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking. Carbon filters can also be used to remove taste/odour.

Rusty coloured drinking water 

Fire hydrant flushing and water main flushing or repairs can disturb sediment in the water mains resulting in orange or brown coloured tap water. This coloured water is not a health concern and can usually be fixed by turning on outside taps for approximately 10 minutes to flush any sediment out of the system. Once it becomes clear, check inside cold taps before trying hot taps. 


Silica is one of the most abundant elements found in all-natural water.  In the Pacific Rim, water generally contains high silica concentrations (50 – 100 mg/L) due to dissolving silicate contained in rock.

Silica can form deposits that show as whitish/cloudy lines, edges or marks on surfaces in toilets, (glass) shower walls and kettles. These deposits occur when water evaporates, increasing the silica concentration. This often happens when water is heated. 

If the silica scale has formed, it can be removed by scouring with a cleaning product suitable for the surface material. Or better, prevent silica deposits forming, by wiping down wet surfaces immediately after use.

Silica in water is generally found in three forms; reactive, colloidal and suspended particles (e.g. sand).
Reactive silica is dissolved silica (silicon dioxide) that is slight ionized.
Colloidal silica (also known as un-reactive silica) acts more like a solid than a dissolved ion.
Suspended particles are particles such as clay silt and sand.

Water mains annual scouring programme

Each year for a period of approximately six weeks, Council's maintenance contractor (Downer NZ Ltd) will carry out the annual water mains flushing programme throughout the City.

This is an annual scheduled maintenance process that ensures the water quality in our pipes remains in tip-top condition.

This may cause a temporary discoloration of water. The cause is most likely to be a build up of air or disturbance of sediment in the pipe following the flush.

Discoloured water: Try running your outside tap for 1-5 mins to clear any discolouration. If discolouration continues, please contact Council.

Related Information

Water quality reports

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