Water Restrictions

Update: Your water-reducing mahi is paying off! The chances of Level 3 water restrictions before the end of summer have gone from 60% to 43%. Thanks so much - keep it up!


We are currently at Water Restriction Level 2

Water Restriction Level 2

  • All unattended watering systems are banned – i.e. sprinklers and irrigation systems.
  • You can water your garden by hand anytime, on any day, so long as you don’t leave your garden hose or watering device unattended.
  • For more information, visit Wellington Water.
  • Get updated stats on leaks across our region here.

Did you know that Wellington Region’s daily water supply is finite, with many areas – including Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt – at risk of serious water shortages this summer?

This problem is being caused by a combination of leaks in our aging water network, population growth, and the fact that we use on average more water than any other metropolitan region in Aotearoa New Zealand - we’re using and losing more water than ever before.

In winter, when there's plenty of rain and the river levels are healthy, Wellington Water can supply up to 220 million litres of water per day. In summer, when it’s hot and dry, river levels drop. This means that supplied water can go down to 170 million litres of water per day, but across Wellington Region we could be using up to 205 million litres per day in summer and dipping into our stored water!

Be prepared:

  • Make sure you have a household plan and have access to a portable water tank if possible. Any big containers for liquids (such as 2-litre plastic bottles) are ideal for storing water just in case.
  • Be mindful of your water usage. Think about the small changes you can make to save water. The more we’re able to save now, the less likely we will need to look at additional restrictions.

We're working hard with Wellington Water to fix leaks across the city. Seen one? Make sure to report it via hutt.city/rap so we can get it fixed.

You can view a full breakdown of how many leaks the team are fixing around Wellington here

  • We’re focussed on renewing ageing pipes as quickly as practically possible, bringing forward work where we can. 1,747 leaks have been fixed in Lower Hutt since 1 July 2023, with 5,176 across the region in total (as of 19 February 2024).
  • We renewed 14.5km of pipes in 2022/23. A significant increase from averaging 4km in previous years.
  • In this year’s 10 Year Plan we’re looking to make a big increase to our investment in drinking, waste and storm water which includes pipe renewal.

How to store water

In an emergency, have a plan in place for water, such as a household emergency water supply to help keep you prepared for a possible water shortage (but is also important for other emergencies such as earthquakes).

You need to have at least three litres of drinking water for each person per day. You will also need water for pets, cooking and washing.

For more information on storing emergency water and general household preparedness, visit the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) website.

You can buy a 200L water tank for collecting rainwater (while current stocks last) for $120.

As requested by residents, we're working to make water tanks available at locations across Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai / Lower Hutt.

Your next available council water tank purchase date is Friday 23 February from:

  • Naenae Neighbourhood Hub / Library at Hillary Court (from 9:30am)
  • Wainuiomata Neighbourhood Hub / Library on Queen Street (from 9am)

We also have some left at Petone Neighbourhood Hub / Library on Britannia Street – just be sure to call ahead at (04) 568 6253 to check availability.

Tanks will be available to buy every Friday - please keep an eye out for confirmed locations.

Instructions on installing your water tank can be found on YouTube, thanks to our friends at Upper Hutt City Council!

You can also purchase water tanks from various hardware and home improvement stores when in stock.

The 200L water tanks usually fit in the backseat of a car - 1200mm x 650mm and weigh 7.5kg. They come with all the attachments needed, and can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

Find out more about the tanks we sell with The Tank Guy here.

Not everyone is able to store a large 200L water tank at home. Thankfully, there are lots of other ways you can store emergency water:

  • You can prepare your own containers of water in soft-drink bottles. Don’t use plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk in them. Milk protein cannot be removed from these containers. Just be sure to keep the bottles free of wear-and-tear.
  • You can also fill plastic ice cream containers with water. Label them and keep them in the freezer. These can help keep food cool if the power is off and can also be used for drinking.
  • You can purchase special plastic containers from hardware stores. The bottles are designed for easy pouring, and you can fill them to the top so that no air is trapped - helping to keep the water fresh.
  • If you choose to buy commercially bottled water, store it in the original sealed container. Do not open it until you need to use it. Observe and replace according to the expiration or use-by date.

Kitchen
Dishwashers don’t use as much water as you might think, but leaving a high-pressure kitchen tap running can use up to 12 litres per minute.    

Skip the pre-rinse - scrape off food into the compost/bin instead.  

Handwashing your dishes? Fill your sink rather than washing under a running tap.

Rinsing out recycling when needed is vital, and you save water when you use dirty water (e.g. from washing dishes) or stick them in the dishwasher where possible.

Laundry
A washing machine can use more than 120 litres of water per load! Cutting down your use is simple.

Only do full loads of laundry.

Be an outfit repeater! Got an outfit with no visible stains? If it passes the sniff test, hang it up and wear it again later in the week.  

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, front-loaders can use significantly less water.  

Garden and Outdoors
Hand watering:
Add mulch (old leaves or grass clippings after mowing) to your garden. This helps stop wind and sun drying out the soil, cutting evaporation by up to 70% and puts nutrients back in the soil.

The middle of the day is when the sun is hottest – and evaporation happens fast. Water in the early morning or evening, so your garden gets the maximum benefit.  

In dry weather, check your garden every 4-7 days. If your soil is moist 10cm below the surface, don’t worry about watering. Water close to the ground at a rate the soil can absorb. Slow watering and not over-watering your garden is important.  

When you're using your hose, make sure that you're not spraying your paths or fences.

Bathroom
One minute in the shower can use up to 18 litres of water. Keep it quick in the shower (about as long as a song) and make every minute count, with an efficient shower head. Find them at your local hardware store.

Brushing your teeth? Turn off the tap! A bathroom tap uses around 6 litres of water per minute.

Toilet:
Stick to the half-flush and save the full flush for when you really, really need it.  

If your whānau or flatmates don’t mind, ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’.

Ignoring that slow drip in the loo? It could be using up to 28 litres of wai per day – get it checked out by a plumber.  Not sure if there’s a leak? Put a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. If the colouring appears in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak (you may need to wait an hour or two for the food colouring to leak into the bowl).

Find out more about water restrictions on the Wellington Water website.

FAQs

I’ve found a water leak, what should I do?

Please log any leaks using our online Report a Problem form.

What is the cost of the water tanks to Hutt City Council per tank?

The 200L emergency water tanks are purchased and delivered for $121.68 each. Council subsidises the tanks and absorbs associated staff and storage costs.

Why are water tanks only available now?

200L Emergency Tanks have been available for sale to the public for the past nine years as part of a joint initiative between regional Civil Defence Emergency Management and councils.

How was the Council's water tank chosen?

The Tank Guy Emergency Water 200L tank and kit has been developed as an affordable tank solution to provide a way of capturing and storing rainwater for an emergency event. Once connected to a downpipe, water can be collected before and after an event for basic survival until domestic water supplies are restored. The design was reviewed by The Massey University Roof Water Research Centre and evaluated in a year-long GNS research project - both provided recommendations for improvements which have been adopted.

The overall objective of the 200L emergency water tanks initiative has been to improve household and community resilience to emergencies.

How do we fill the water tanks during a water restriction?

While the 200L Emergency Water tanks are proving popular during current water restrictions, their purpose is to provide an affordable solution to capture and store rainwater for an emergency event. Any tanks connected to a downpipe now will be ready to start collecting rainwater the next time it rains.

Can we pre-pay for a water tank?

Due to demand, water tanks need to be purchased and picked up in-person.