Water Restrictions

Monday 30 January - Matatoki, Matarangi and Coromandel Town water notice

Matatoki, Matarangi and Coromandel Town residents and visitors are urged to please conserve water. The very heavy rain means that the streams we draw water from are carrying a heavy sediment load. The water treatment plants have to process at a much slower rate due or even be shut off at times. As a result, our treated water storage is lower than normal. If residents could please be mindful of their water use at this time, it would be much appreciated. 

Current Water Restrictions

UPDATED: Friday 13 January 2023

Coromandel Town: Level - 1 NO RESTRICTIONS - No official restrictions on water use, but water is a precious resource. Please be mindful of water use regardless.

Matarangi: Level - 4 HAND-HELD HOSES ONLY - A total ban on the use of all sprinklers, unattended hoses and garden irrigation systems. Hand-held hoses can be used on alternate days: If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses.

Whitianga: Level - 1 NO RESTRICTIONS - No official restrictions on water use, but water is a precious resource. Please be mindful of water use regardless.

Hāhei: Level - 2 CONSERVE WATER - Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

Tairua: Level - 2 CONSERVE WATER - Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

Pāuanui: Level - 2 CONSERVE WATER - Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

Whangamatā: Level - 2 CONSERVE WATER - Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

Onemana: Level -2 CONSERVE WATER - Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

Thames: Level - 1 NO RESTRICTIONS - No official restrictions on water use, but water is a precious resource. Please be mindful of water use regardless.

Thames Valley: Level - 5 WATERING BAN - Hand-held hoses, unattended hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems are not permitted at any time. This includes a ban on watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, boats, houses and decks, filling paddling pools and playing under sprinklers. Essential watering of plants, such as vegetable gardens using a hand-held watering can is permitted.

We monitor all our water supplies and if water levels in our reservoirs drop, then we need to move to higher-level conservation measures. 

Why do we have water restrictions?

Due to the influx of people in the townships, water demand across the Coromandel is high. This seasonal influx puts additional load on our water supply systems, with all parts of the system needing to work together to supply ample water for our residents. Conserving water where possible allows us to keep up with the increased demand during summer.

“We are in for a long hot summer, and being conscious about water conservation is so important” says Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler. “We need to make sure we have enough water to supply our increased population during this time, as well as maintain enough reserves in case of an emergency such as a fire.”

Water restrictions are often utilised by towns and cities across the country during this time of year, and residents and visitors to the Coromandel are asked to comply with the water restrictions for the good of the community.

But it’s been raining – how are we short on water?

Bad weather might provide a deluge of rain, but it can make it more challenging to produce drinking water.

The additional dirt and sediments in the streams mean the treatment plants must work harder to produce water, often at lower volumes.

So please conserve water where possible due to the current high demand.

How do I know when I need to conserve water?

Our water restrictions are reviewed daily, and any changes are posted on our website, email newsletters and our Facebook. We have portable message boards set up at some high-traffic points in areas most affected by water restrictions. Please keep an eye on these and follow the guidance to restrict water use.

Please report water wastage and water leaks to our Customer Services team on 07 868 0200.

For more water conservation tips visit tcdc.govt.nz/savewater.  

There are five levels of restriction to manage our water supply:

  1. Level 1 - No Restrictions: No official restrictions on water use, but water is a precious resource. Please be mindful of water use regardless.

  2. Level 2 - Conserve Water: Residents and holidaymakers are asked to be careful with their water use to ensure our supply continues.

  3. Level 3 - Alternate Days:  Hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems can only be used on alternate days. If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses.

  4. Level 4 - Hand-held Hoses Only: A total ban on the use of all sprinklers, unattended hoses and garden irrigation systems. Hand-held hoses can be used on alternate days:  If your address is an even number, you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses.

  5. Level 5 - Watering Ban:  Hand-held hoses, unattended hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems are not permitted at any time. This includes a ban on watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, boats, houses, and decks, filling paddling pools and playing under sprinklers. Essential watering of plants, such as vegetable gardens using a hand-held watering can is permitted.

Managing demand with supply

Water use restrictions are not just a response to the high numbers of visitors we have to the Coromandel over the summer months.

Restrictions are required to help us meet the specific requirements of our resource consents from Waikato Regional Council, under which we draw limited amounts of water from streams and rivers, or pump it from bores in the ground, and then treat it to make it safe to drink.

Supplies for our major centres are as follows:

  • Matarangi - Opitonui River
  • Whitianga - Whangamaroro River
  • Hahei - Groundwater bore
  • Coromandel Town - Karaka Stream and Waiau Stream
  • Pauanui - Oturu Stream and groundwater bore field
  • Tairua - Pepe Stream and tributaries
  • Whangamata - Groundwater bore field
  • Thames - Kauaeranga River and Mangarehu Stream

The issues we have experienced with our water supply result from a huge increase in demand for water from our peak visitor population, exacerbated by hot, dry weather, which means our river and stream levels dramatically decrease.

As our stream levels drop, the volume of water we can take from some these sources is also reduced to ensure we do not breach our resource consent conditions.

Water Supply Bylaw

A reminder to residents and visitors that our Water Supply Bylaw took effect from Thursday 19 December 2019, which means that boat washing is not allowed when we have water restrictions in place.

“Washing down a boat can use a lot of water, which is a challenge during peak summer periods when domestic water demand is high at the same time,” says Bruce Hinson, our Operations Group Manager. “Of course, we recognise its summer, but we need people to be mindful and not waste water, we don’t want to get into a situation where people are without water for essential purposes.”

“Washing the boat down with a handheld hose during these times is in the same category as restrictions for using a hose to water your garden,” says Mr. Hinson. “However, if it’s just flushing out the boat’s motor, that’s not a problem, as it’s considered ordinary use to keep the boat operating.”

Our Council would prefer that people voluntarily comply with the conservation measures, but we will be looking at prosecuting where restrictions continue to be breached. People can be fined on conviction up to $20,000 for breaching the bylaw.

Water reservoir levels

This summer (2020-2021), we’re providing information on water levels in our reservoirs each month, with comparisons to the same time last year, alongside the average daily water use figures.

This information is available as our Council and our communities work together to manage water demand more effectively and efficiently.

We experienced a heavy water demand over Labour Weekend and water levels in our sources are already starting to drop. For example, the Opitonui River flow (Whitianga source) is currently at about 80% compared to same time last year.

Although public water supply takes priority over other requirements, Waikato Regional Council is keeping a close eye on proactive actions our Council take to comply with the resource consent limits on water takes and manage demand.

We need everyone’s co-operation and support to use water wisely and pull through the summer peak period. Check out our website for water conservation tips including how you can start collecting your spring rainwater.

From Friday, 6 November all areas in our district are now on Level 2 'Conserve Water' - Residents are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues.

It’s important to note, our reservoirs in the Coromandel are only big enough to hold supply for 24 hours for the area they service. Our reservoirs can not be compared to Auckland or other big cities that have reservoirs or dams that can hold supplies for months. Our Coromandel reservoirs help manage the peaks and troughs of water demand, particularly around peak summer.  Trends show demand is high in the morning and evenings and the water reservoirs levels drop around those times,  but build up again when there is less use. Our water plants run 24-hours-a-day to take the water from our sources, treat and distribute it to our communities.

The reservoirs noted take water from different sources (rivers and streams). The Waikato Regional Council has a web page which shows the current water levels of our water sources. You can view it here.