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Tauranga is now in prohibited fire season | Sprinkler and irrigation system ban now in place for Tauranga


Common water questions or issues

Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about your water, such as cloudy or discoloured water or unusual smell or taste.


Tauranga’s water supply is not currently fluoridated. In 1992 a referendum was held and over 51% of people voted to stop adding fluoride to the city’s water supply.

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. 

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.

Last Reviewed: 14/04/2020

Tauranga City Council, Private Bag 12022, Tauranga, 3143, New Zealand  |  Terms of use  |  Site map

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