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Water Supply

Smart watering still needed despite rain!

Tauranga City Council wants to remind people about using water efficiently and effectively. In summer we all need to be “smart” about how much water we are using.

Smart watering is all about knowing how much your garden needs, when and where it needs water and what you can do to retain moisture in your soil. Often when we get summer rainfall, people tend to think they don’t need to worry about conserving water but in fact the opposite is true. If you’re careful with your water when it’s plentiful, it might just help stave off restrictions when the weather is hot and dry.

Things like making sure your sprinkler waters your plants and not the patio, driveway or footpath; using timers; watering early in the morning and in the evening and using mulch to help your soil retain water all help. Longer term, find out what plants grow well in your area with little requirement for water. Think about installing rainwater tanks or maybe even consider installing a home irrigation system. Washing your car on the grass waters your lawn as well as prevents cleaning products going into the stormwater system. Or, even better, be proud of a dirty car.

Smart Watering website

Summer peak water usage

This graph shows how Tauranga City's water demand is tracking compared with previous summers. The 7 day rolling average smooths out any day-to-day water operations spikes and provides a good indication of how the demand is changing in response to changing weather.  The high usage level of 45,000 m3/day equates to about 70% of the city’s water treatment capacity. Water restrictions would be considered when water usage is sustained above 50,000 m3/day, about 80% of the city’s capacity. Restrictions have not been needed since water meters were introduced in 2000. However, growth is putting increasing pressure on the city’s water supply capacity each year, especially along the coastal strip each summer. That trend will continue until the Waiari Water Supply Scheme comes online in 2021.

Council provides all urban and rural-residential properties in Tauranga with constant, sustainable and high quality water.  Our last Ministry of Health grading confirms that we have some of the best drinking water in the country.

The process starts with collecting water from the natural environment.  We are permitted to do this from two sources – the Tautau and Waiorohi streams.  The water at the source is very clean but by the time it passes through several hectares of cattle country and the occasional land slip it needs some work before it is suitable for drinking and bathing in.

The water is treated at both the Oropi and Joyce Road water processing plants.  Microfiltration technology is used which basically means the water passes through very tiny holes and through millions of tiny straws that remove nasties like Giardia and Cryptosporidium and dirt.  Once filtered, the water is chlorinated, leaving a very small amount of chlorine in the water to kill off any contaminants. (It only takes a very small amount of chlorine: one part per million.)  The water is then tested before being pumped across the city to your home.

We have over 1200km of pipes to carry the water, 20 reservoirs and tanks to hold our supply and 52 000 water meters to measure how much we use.

Tauranga City uses an average of 36 million litres of water per day.  In summer this can rise to 54 million litres per day.

Council is planning to build a third micro-filtration water processing plant along the Waiari Stream in Te Puke to help us keep up with the demands of a growing city. 

How water rates charges are calculated

Water Metering - The Tauranga Journey - Paper written by Peter Bahrs and John Sternberg

Information on giardia and cryptosporidium


Oropi Road plant

Joyce Road plant

Last Reviewed: 23/02/2017