Water Supplies

Council provides drinkable water supplies in the Ōtorohanga and Kāwhia communities.

The water supplies for Ōtorohanga and Kāwhia are 'on demand' systems that are designed to provide adequate, continuous water pressure and quality. 

The Ōtorohanga water supply draws and treats water from the Waipa River.

The Kāwhia water supply draws and treats water from springs in the community.

Charges for Water Supply

All water users pay for their water based on the actual water consumed, measured by a water meter. Find out about our water rates here

Ōtorohanga Community

We’ve now installed water meters across the Ōtorohanga Community and started charging on 1 July 2019. We sent four mock invoices to ratepayers to show how much the water will cost. This mock bill gave residents time before the real bills arrive to understand their household water use and how much the bills might be. It gave the opportunity to lower water use and repair any leaks before formal charging started. 

People in Ōtorohanga connected to the town water supply have always paid for water. In the 2018/19 year, all households paid $380.15 plus GST per annum for water as part of their annual rates bill. This charge was removed from rates on 1 July 2019 and will be charged separately. It’s important to note that Councils, by law, are only allowed to recover the costs of collecting, treating, supplying, and disposing of water, Councils are not allowed to make a profit on water.

Water will be charged quarterly, and bills will be made up of two parts; a fixed network charge to help pay for infrastructure and a volumetric charge. 

Installing water meters will help reduce the amount of water we use across the community and therefore the amount of money we must spend on water infrastructure. We appreciate that for some people new to water meters, the new charging regime may take some time to get used to.

Kāwhia Community

Because of the limited capacity of the Kāwhia water supply, properties that were first developed or significantly extended after 30 June 2009 will be subject to Peak Season Metered Water Charges.

This will lead to high charges for the metered volume of water used between 20 December and 20 February

Rural Water Supply Schemes

On behalf of the scheme members, Council also operates and administers a number of water supply schemes in rural areas.

There are four water supply schemes in the District which supply water primarily for agricultural purposes on a 'trickle feed' basis.

These schemes require connected properties to install storage tanks to provide for higher peak water demands.

The establishment of these schemes was initially funded by the properties who were served by these schemes.

The water users control these schemes, with Council only fulfilling operational and administrative roles.

The general terms and conditions for the Rural Water Supply Schemes can be downloaded below.


Understanding your water meter

For more information about your water meter, check out our handy guide


Water Connections

Charges apply when new connections to water supplies are established, or when existing properties are redeveloped in a way that is likely to result in significant increases in water use.

For more information on this, please visit our page: Development and Financial Contributions.

For information on fees relating to water supply, please visit our page: Water Connection Charges.

For Water Services Forms please visit our Forms page.

The Regional Infrastructure Technical Specification (RITS) is a document that sets out how to design and construct transportation, water supply, wastewater, stormwater and landscaping infrastructure in the participating councils’ areas. For Regional Infrastructure Technical Specifications click here.

The Water Services Bylaw places control over urban networks for the supply of drinking water and drainage of sewerage or stormwater, it is collectively termed 'water services.'  Find out more here.

Common Water Supply Issues

Discoloured Water

Over long periods, a layer of very fine silt may build up at the bottom of some water supply pipes.

A variety of reasons may cause an unusually strong flow of water in these pipes. This silt is mixed with the water and 'dirty water' may be created for a brief period of time.

This discoloured water (usually in a grey shade) is unattractive, but it does not pose a risk to health.

If you notice that the water is discoloured and not suitable for your intended use, run the water until it clears. Discoloured water does not permanently stain clothes washed in it.

Changes in Water Taste

Some people are sensitive to very small variations in the taste of water.

These variations may occur in the Council supplies, particularly in Ōtorohanga during the summer when the Waipa River is very low.

Flushing Taps

The water provided by Council supplies may dissolve the metal of household pipes and plumbing fittings very slowly - this is a natural process.

If the water lies in the pipes or fittings for long periods, this could result in heavy metals such as copper being present in the water.

It is therefore recommended that taps be run for two or three seconds to flush out affected water before using it for food preparation or drinking.

Responsibility for Water Pipes

Council is generally responsible for:

  • a water pipe serving an individual property up to the boundary of that property with council owned land, or
  • up to the point where a pipe splits away from another pipe that serves more than one property

Beyond this point, the pipes and the maintenance of these pipes become the responsibility of the property owner(s) through which they pass.

Need for Water Conservation

Council's water supplies have all got relatively limited supply capacity.

In the interests of good environmental management, measures to reduce water use are encouraged, and in some cases required. 

For details on how you can reduce water consumption, please visit our page: Water Conservation.

Formal restrictions of the use of water for non-essential purposes may be imposed by Council at times of peak demand.

These restrictions are routinely applied in the Kāwhia Community over the Christmas / New Year period.

Limitations on the water supply in Kāwhia means that there will always be some risk of water shortages during this peak demand period unless water is used very carefully.