Water Watchers: Council respond after leak concern

Water tanks in Oropi. Photo. John Borren.

Tauranga City Council say they are actively following the same advice given to residents over water usage amid fears of a water shortage in the city.

This comes after one Tauranga resident was left disappointed by Tauranga City Council’s response to a water leak outside her home, despite pleas for residents to save on water.

After three consecutive dry summers, the streams that supply Tauranga with water are running low.

This led to the council’s introduction of a Water Watchers Plan in November last year, a year-round plan which replaced the more traditional outdoor watering restrictions.

The aim of the plan was to prevent the 30 per cent spike in outdoor water use seen over the summer period.

However, the most recent update on the council website still shows a high daily usage from residents of 234 litres per person, 46.2 per cent above target.

Freda, who lives in Tauranga South, notified council on Friday, January 14, of a water leak outside her home. It took four days until contractors came to fix the leak, at 3pm on Tuesday, January 18.

Freda feels council’s advice does not match their actions on fixing leaks and says the contractors informed her they were very busy on similar problems around Tauranga.The leak on Freda's road. Supplied photo.

“The water has been running down into our driveway for 60 or so hours now and it is not right for the council to ask us to save water when they are not fixing these leaks fast enough,” says Freda.

“If they want us to save water, surely these sort of leaks should be their number one priority.

“They can’t expect us to save all this water if they cannot do so themselves.”

SunLive approached the contractor involved for comment but has not yet received a response.

Council thanks Freda for alerting them of the water leak, saying residents are encouraged to do so. However, they point out that leaks are prioritised by severity, especially during busy times.

“We really appreciate people letting us know about water leaks out in the community as we can’t be everywhere, all the time,” says Tauranga City Council water services manager Peter Bahrs.

“All leaks are a priority and we do our best to attend to all of them as soon as we can.

“Sometimes we receive a higher than usual number of reports, which is fantastic, but it means our contractors have to prioritise them according to size and impact.”

Peter says that council is following the same principles as those being recommended to residents and outlines one way they are trying to reduce the impact of their water use.

“We’re following the Water Watchers Plan too,” he says.

“That means we’re actively reducing the city’s water supply to water reserves, sports fields and street trees, and where possible we’re using bore water to irrigate these areas instead of the city water supply.

“Signs are in place where bore water is in use.

Council is continuing to urge residents to follow the Water Watchers Plan.

How to save water at home.


  • Fix any leaking taps, pipes or cisterns. A leaky tap could drop up to 3 litres of water per day.
  • 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; taps use up to 6 litres of water per minute. You could save around 20 litres of water.


  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth. You could save up to 5 litres of water!
  • Take shorter showers. A shower uses 10-12 litres of water per minute so cutting your shower by just one minute saves more than you expect.
  • Collect water from your shower for watering your garden – this could be around 20 litres for your garden.
  • Use the short toilet flush when you can, that uses about half the water of a full flush. The average flush uses between 6 and 32 litres of water, so using a half flush can help a lot.


  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
  • Use a bucket to wash your car rather than a hose – you could save up to 100 litres of water!
  • Wash your car on the grass.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paths.

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Posted on 30-01-2022 14:22 | By morepork

Thanks for your support. (Sometimes I feel very lonely here... :-)) Seriously, I have done some investigating, and for $NZ90 million we could join the other 177 countries and 16,000 plants around the world, that supply clean water without worrying about climate change. We also could cut through all the usual committees, huis, consultants, and arguments about whakapapa... but then, there are probably vested interests who WANT that particular gravy train. To me, this is a no-brainer. Given that, you’d expect the current administration to jump at it... It should at least be discussed, but it won’t be. Not until the aquifers dry up and we are all rationed for water. It would pay for itself in around 3 years.

Water leaks

Posted on 26-01-2022 09:04 | By PJ-Bethlehem

Morepork is right, desalination options need to be an open and ongoing discussion. If the BOP is to continue to expand, "out of the box" thinking is necessary. Rumour has it they are not making any rivers and fresh waterways to meet development any more.

I'm following the plan.

Posted on 25-01-2022 13:37 | By morepork

Because there is an immediate necessity. But it doesn’t make me blind to how we got into this situation. Climate change may be part of it, but it certainly isn’t all of it. Rampant growth with insufficient investment in infrastructure to cover it, is much more responsible. And debate continues over rights to access and land, ownership, and compensation. I still see a desalinization plant as the best answer (also far and away the most cost effective...), but it is too far outside the box for a tunnel-visioned administration to even consider it.


Posted on 25-01-2022 09:38 | By PJ-Bethlehem

using FIA, can the SunMedia ask TCC how many notifications re water leaks they received just prior to the issue as described here. be interested to see just how busy their contractors were causing the delay in response.


Posted on 25-01-2022 09:34 | By PJ-Bethlehem

Be interesting to get the TCC to detail to it’s customers exactly what action has been taken or is planned in the next 12 -24 months in regard to expanding the water supply. Maybe that is something this news outlet might pursue.

How about

Posted on 25-01-2022 09:10 | By usandthem

The council stop using the sprinklers along the mall and marine parade.another case of do what I say not what I do.

Up the target

Posted on 25-01-2022 09:04 | By First Responder

So TCC says we are using 234 litres per person, per day, and that’s 46% above target. According to learn.org.nz, the average person uses 227 litres per day in NZ. I’d say we’re doing good. The council needs to up its production, to meet demand, and as the city continues to grow, so must supply increase.


Posted on 25-01-2022 07:21 | By Johnney

It was reported on a Friday so one would assume no weekend repairs. Pathetic council inaction. By the way we are short of water due to the massive housing and industrial growth in the region. I imagine the new Winstones Gib factory in Tauriko is going to use a lot of water. Probably great high quality filtered water from the tap.

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