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Saving water

Sprinkler ban now in place for Tauranga

Water restrictions started from 9am, 30 January 2019, and will continue until further notice.

If you have any specific questions about the water restrictions, feel free to call our waterline advisors on 07 577 7000.

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.

What the ban meansSprinkler ban graph

  • 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.

7-day water consumption

This graph shows water demand and rainfall over the past months. The blue column shows the time restrictions have been in place.

7-day water consumption graph (51kb pdf)

Tips to save water

  • Use mulch to keep soil moist.
  • Only water your garden when absolutely necessary and during 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.

See more tips


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 sprinkler and irrigation system ban. 

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

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

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

No, unless they have their own water supply. They might not be aware there is a restiction, let them know or you can report sprinkler use by calling 577 7000.

Everyone needs to follow the garden sprinkler ban, however there are some commercial exceptions with facilities such as sports fields. If in doubt call Council to find out more.

Water used for commercial activities can continue as normal except where this involves sprinklers. Make sure that any garden sprinklers are turned off, and consider ways to reduce your water use where possible. There are very limited exceptions to where Council will approve the use of sprinklers.

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

When we get rain, it just means that for a short time, people stop using as much water as they usually would during summer, particularly trying to keep their gardens green.

Short periods of rain do not provide enough long term assurance, the restrictions need to stay in place until we’re confident the dry, hot weather is behind us.

No. Sprinkler use is banned. But you can spray them with the hose and use paddling pools. Try to limit water use, and consider a trip to the beach or a local swimming spot instead.

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

Please consider not filling pools during the restriction time unless it’s from a bore. And if possible, visit the beach or a local public pool instead.

Public swimming pools

Yes, using a hose with a trigger nozzle or high-pressure cleaning device. Where possible, put the trailer on the grass and keep it as short as possible.

Yes – assuming you are holding the waterblaster. However, please consider conserving water and think about delaying this until water restrictions have been lifted.

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

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.

We will need to escalate our water restrictions.

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 (62kb pdf)

More tips on saving water in summer

There are some simple things you can do to help save water. Little changes can make a big difference, particularly in the drier months of summer.   


  • 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.
  • Dig a small trench around trees and large plants to help retain water.
  • Dig the soil – well-turned, aerated soil will absorb water easily. 


  • 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: 25/02/2019

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