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Tauranga has a sprinkler and irrigation system ban in place 


Saving water

Water restrictions continue to apply in Tauranga.

Sprinkler and irrigation system ban still in place for Tauranga

Water restrictions continue on in Tauranga, crossing into May for the first time. Continued low flow in the streams that supply Tauranga’s drinking water means water restrictions remain necessary to relieve pressure on the streams and safeguard stream health. With the prediction of another drier than usual winter ahead of us, it is unknown when restrictions can be lifted. 

Record low stream levels drive prolonged water restrictions

What the Sprinkler and irrigation system ban means

  • All sprinklers and irrigation systems 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 5pm and 8pm.

Read more about council's concerns for water

Tauranga Daily Water Use

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. 

Tauranga water usage

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. 

Tips to save water

  • 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.

More tips for conserving 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.

Frequently asked questions

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

This is the first year we are seeing these changes to river flow. We are working with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, under who’s jurisdiction these streams fall, to assess the situation. It’s not hard to imagine the persistent dry weather is a contributing factor. Bay of Plenty Regional Council has said that “The summer of 2019/2020 saw some of the lowest-ever recorded rainfall and stream flows in the Bay of Plenty”. And Metservices have indicated it’s been the third driest September in 77 years.

Regional Council are closely monitoring the situation. Find out more

Should water use continue to rise and/or the river flow stays the same (or deteriorates) the scenario for Tauranga’s water use would evolve like this:

  • Initially, a sprinkler/irrigation ban would be implemented. This is where we are at currently
  • Next would be a hose ban, depending on the change in water use and the situation around the river flow
  • The last, most extreme measure would be a full ban on outdoor water use.

From previously being triggered by water use, based on a limitation to water treatment capacity – we now need to consider flow levels from our source rivers, and consent limitations to what we are allowed to take from rivers. This is new territory for Tauranga City Council and together with Regional Council we are working through what this will look like.

You can water by hand between the hours of 5 and 8am, and 5 and 8pm. We recommend a trigger nozzle on a hose, or a watering can. Have a look through the other frequently asked questions for answers to some common questions to help you identify what you can and cannot do during a sprinkler and irrigation system ban. 

Water restrictions apply to commercial businesses and residential use.

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 5 and 8pm.

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, 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. Tauranga City Council have issued a sign to people who have let the council know that they have their own bore - which should be displayed. You can try a neighbourly conversation, or report any sprinkler use by calling 577 7000.

The installation of bores, rainwater tanks and the reuse of greywater are all options that you can consider in reducing the use of drinking water for outdoor garden use.

If you install a bore on your property, we recommend that you let us know that you have a private bore so we can send you out a sign that you can attach to your front fence. This will let people know you are using bore water for your garden should they wonder.

Visit the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website for more information

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.

Where a public water supply is available, rainwater is generally not advised for drinking-water connections such as in kitchens and bathrooms.

Tauranga City Council does not provide any discounts to install of water tanks or barrels.

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. 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.

Using rainwater brochure (1.2mb pdf)

Greywater is the wastewater from the bath, the shower, the bathroom/kitchen sink and the washing machine. Reusing greywater can significantly reduce the amount of fresh water you use.

You can collect greywater in a bucket while doing everyday tasks around the home.

  • Warm-up water: Put a container under the faucet to collect cold water while you wait for water to heat up.
  • Kitchen sinks: Place a pan in the sink and rinse vegetables and wash dishes in the pan.
  • The stovetop: if you steam or boil vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain. Instead, let it cool before you use it.
  • Rinsing out wine and other bottles: If you rinse bottles before placing them in the recycle bin, pour the rinse water onto thirsty plants.
  • Bathroom sinks and bathtubs: Scoop water from daily use into buckets.
  • Showers: Place a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up and while you shower.

If you would like to plumb in a greywater system this requires a building consent. These systems are still rare in New Zealand, and you should expect questions on the safety of your project

Can I use Grey Water on my garden?

Yes, you can. Do not use grey water on your vegetable garden though.

Dust suppression is not permitted at any level of water restrictions.

You can connect a water blasting device or hose to the city water supply as long as you do not leave that device or hose unattended while in operation.

You can continue to use water for your business if it is not using a sprinkler/irrigation system. Watering needs to be completed by a hand held device only.

Sustained and increasing water demand, as a result of the recent hot dry weather, has put pressure on Tauranga’s water treatment capacity. Tauranga’s current rainfall this year is down about 30% compared with the average rainfall and flow levels in the river that supply our drinking water continue to be low. The rainfall has had no impact on the source water streams flows which remain low.

No. Sprinkler use is banned. But you can use a hand held hose to fill a paddling pool. And take a look at the fabulous smart water play ideas put together by the three councils in the Waikato.

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

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

Yes – assuming you are holding the water blaster. Hosing hard surfaces (paths, driveways, and floors) is not permitted.

While we are happy for homeowners to install rainwater tanks, they often run dry during the hot summer months when people are using the most water. So from a city-wide, water planning point of view, they are not helpful enough to make them compulsory.

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, sports fields and street trees that are irrigated from the city’s water supply. However, at some reserve and facilities, 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. Most of the Tauranga City Council parks and reserves use water from bores.

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.

The water restrictions apply to all use of water from 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’s supply.

Further tips


  • 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 the soil – well-turned, aerated soil will absorb water easily. 

When landscaping a new garden

Should you be planning to landscape, sow new grass or put in a new lawn, we recommend you delay until after the hot and dry months. Once water restrictions start, you may not be able to water new grass as often as it needs.


  • 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.
  • Collect water from your shower for watering your garden.
  • 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: 09/06/2021

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