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Saving water

Sprinkler ban now in place for Tauranga

Following peak water usage combined with a hot, dry weather forecast, we are asking residents to stop using all garden sprinklers and irrigation systems until further notice.

Sprinkler ban water restrictions

What the ban means

  • All garden sprinklers are banned.
  • No hosing of hard surfaces (paths, driveways, concrete or paved surface) at any time.
  • You can still water carefully by hand between 5am and 8am, and 7pm and 10pm.

Tips on saving water in summer 

  • Use mulch to keep soil moist.
  • Only water your garden when absolutely necessary and during the cooler times of the day – early morning or late evening. 
  • Collect water from your shower for watering your garden.
  • Let your lawn grow longer; shade will protect roots and moisture. 

Further tips to save water


The water restrictions apply to the city water supply. Recycled water, bore water and water used for testing fire systems, firefighting and related activities are exempt from the water restrictions. Water from rainwater tanks is also exempt if it is not topped up from the city’s water supply.

No sprinklers allowed. What can I do?

Below are answers to some common questions to help you identify what you can and cannot do during a residential sprinkler and irrigation system ban. 

Can I still water my garden during a sprinkler ban?

Yes you can, by hand – we recommend a trigger nozzle on a hose, or a watering can. Watering is restricted to 5 and 8am, and 7 and 10pm to reduce evaporation.

Why can we only water at certain times?

Watering is restricted to the coolest parts of the day because watering in the heat of the day means a lot of water is lost through evaporation.  

Can I still wash my car?

Yes you can, by hand — we recommend using a bucket and a trigger nozzle on a hose. Where possible, wash your car on the grass.

My neighbour is using their sprinkler – should they be?

No, unless they have their own water supply (bore). You can report sprinkler use by calling 577 7000. 

The bowling club/sports club/council is still watering their lawn; is that okay?

They are still permitted to water their facilities, however we have asked that they are as pragmatic and responsible as possible.

My business relies on outdoor water use (house cleaners, nurseries etc.). What can I do?

You can continue to operate as normal, however we ask that you are pragmatic and responsible when watering.

Why are there restrictions when we’ve had so much rain?

Sustained and increasing water demand, as a result of warmer weather, has put pressure on Tauranga’s water treatment capacity. We can only abstract and treat a certain amount of water each day. 

Can the kids still play in the sprinkler?

No, sprinklers are banned during water restrictions. You can let your kids have fun with water from a hose or a paddling pool.

Can I still fill my pool?

Yes, but you must be holding the hose as it fills the pool – any unattended watering is not permitted.

We are however asking people to be as pragmatic and responsible as possible, and consider using the fantastic outdoor facilities that some of the public pools have as an alternative. 

Public swimming pools

Can I still clean my boat?

Yes, using a hose with a trigger nozzle or high-pressure cleaning device

Can I still waterblast my house?

Yes – assuming you are holding the waterblaster and you’re not leaving is to run unattended. 

What are some other ways that I can water my garden?

You can water you garden with grey water collected from your bath, shower, washing machine or kitchen sink.

What is Council doing to save water?

Where possible, we will be stopping the watering of reserves, sportsfields and street trees that are irrigated from the city’s water supply. However, at some reserves, turning off irrigation would cause damage that would incur a huge cost to ratepayers. We can also move to using water from a bore, rather than the city water supply, in some instances. You may see irrigation in some places where the water is not from the city water supply, so don’t be alarmed. 

What happens if the water restrictions do not work?

We will need to restrict water use further.

The next level would be a hose ban. The level after that would be a ban on all outdoor water use.

Supply of Water Bylaw 2007 

Further tips to save water


  • Soak your garden every few days rather than giving it a quick drink every night. Light watering means water evaporates quickly and makes the roots grow shallow. Soaking the ground every few days encourages the roots to go deeper into the soil where moisture is held longer.
  • Water early in the morning or later in the evening so water doesn’t evaporate. 
  • Mulch your garden with grass clippings or compost. Mulching keeps moisture in. 
  • Raise the blades on your lawn mower a notch. Leaving 25-30mm of leaf provides shade to the roots and soil, slowing water loss and protecting your lawn from sunburn.
  • If your lawn does dry out, most grasses including Tauranga’s common Kikuyu grass will grow back again.
  • Dig a small trench around trees and large plants to help retain water.
  • Dig the soil – well-turned, aerated soil will absorb water easily. 
  • Rather than using a sprinkler, invest in an irrigation system and use a timer to run it. Remember, if a sprinkler ban is introduced, you will need to turn your irrigation off.

When landscaping a new garden

  • Should you be planning to sow some new grass or put in a new lawn, make sure you do this before summer so your grass has time to settle ahead of the hot and dry months. Water restrictions may also mean you will not be able to water new grass as often as it needs.
  • Landscape to suit your area – choose plants that thrive in our local climate and suit your garden’s unique features (sun, shade, dry, damp etc).
  • Hydro-Zone your garden – group plants that have similar water needs. •  Plant shade trees – the shade reduces evaporation and soil temperature.
  • Make sure new plants are put in well before the dry summer months.


  • Fix any leaking taps, pipes or cisterns.
  • 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.


  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Take shorter showers. A quick shower uses less than quarter of the water used in a bath.
  • Use the short toilet flush when you can, that uses about half the water of a full flush.


  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
  • Use a bucket to wash your car rather than a hose.
  • Wash your car on the grass.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paths.

Last Reviewed: 23/01/2020


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