Tairua Water Meter Project and water restriction issues


A method to measure water use is being trialled at selected properties around Tairua. The project will help look at ways to improve water conservation and better manage water infrastructure maintenance.

The Tairua water supply has been increasingly affected by seasonal influences and increasing consumer demand. Water conservation measures, in particular water restrictions, have been used for a number of years to manage the supply.

The 2014-2015 summer saw conservation measures, particularly water use restrictions, implemented longer than usual through to mid-April. The 2015-16 summer was much less severe and was aided by relatively significant rainfall over the peak population period and also the repair of several significant leaks that were identified through the metering programme. All restrictions were lifted by 18 January 2016. 


The water meter trial

Approximately 300 (25%) of Tairua properties have smart meters that were installed in 2014. Analysis of meter data enabled the location of significant leakage  and there is potential to further reduce the leakage of treated water by extending water metering to trunk mains and to include all consumers. For example we could measure how much water goes into the Puku area and compare it with how much consumers actually use.

The way forward

The long-term resource consents have been granted and a new intake has been constructed to enable additional abstraction from the Pepe Stream above Laycock Rd.

We have completed a draft Water Demand Management Strategy, which will be presented to the new Council in 2017. Once adopted, we expect the proposed initiatives will significantly reduce the need to include water restrictions to manage holiday demand. The most significant of these initiatives is to extend water metering to all consumers so that leakage/wastage can be addressed and the need for longer term capital works, such as treatment plant upgrades or additional storage reservoirs, can be assessed  with a true picture of how the water currently produced is actually used.

The fact remains though, that over peak summer there may always be a need for short term water restrictions to be in place in Tairua for the Christmas and New Year weeks.

Throughout all of this we have to take into consideration:

  • Availability of water at the source. The water supply intakes are streams in relatively small catchments. The volume permitted to be taken under the appropriate WRC Resource Consent is determined by assessment of environmentally sustainable flows remaining in the stream.
  • The rate water is permitted to be taken by the WRC Resource Consent which typically has restrictions; annual limits, or daily limits or rate of take.
  • Storage available to meet maximum daily peak demands throughout the year.
  • Actual demand for drinking, cooking, hygiene, gardens, boat or car washing

To read more Frequently Asked Questions about the project click here.