General water restriction FAQs

Stage one water restrictions are in place across Auckland

On 24 September 2020, Auckland Council decided to adjust the stage one water restrictions for commercial water users. The changes took effect on 12 October. Click here to find out about the changes.

Stage one water restrictions

Residential water users cannot:

  • Use an outdoor hose or water blasting device when connected to the metropolitan supply network.

Under the amended restrictions, commercial and other non-domestic water users can:

  • Use a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle
  • Use a regular hose for health, safety, emergency and biosecurity reasons
  • Operate a car wash service
  • Water sports fields, plants and paddocks using irrigation systems fitted with soil moisture sensors or rain sensors.

Click the button below to report a person or company for misusing water.

water saving tips from a local hero

Water for Life is now your go-to site for water saving

We've made water saving easy by putting all the top tips in one place. Our new website Water for Life shares stories and information about the water that sustains our growing city of Tāmaki Makaurau. The website was launched earlier this year when Auckland was in the grips of the worst drought on record. With our total water storage nowhere near where it should be, we still need everyone to save water, and that’s where Water for Life comes in. You'll meet local water saving heroes like Brent who'll share their tips for reusing and conserving water. Plus, our online resources will offer Aucklanders a better understanding of why we all need to treat water as precious.

Visit the website and start your water saving journey

General FAQs

Why is Auckland’s water supply strained?
Since the start of the year, the region has received significantly less rainfall than normal. This is having a big impact on our water supply. On 15th April, the total volume of water stored in our dams dropped below 50 per cent for the first time in more than 25 years. We need to preserve what’s left.

When were restrictions introduced?
Saturday 16th May 2020.

Who was responsible for introducing restrictions?
Auckland Council introduced them and we are enforcing them.

Who do the restrictions apply to?
All properties connected to Auckland’s metropolitan water supply network.

Click here to view the metropolitan water supply map.

Who is exempt from restrictions?

  • The restrictions do not apply to the rural townships of Waiuku, Helensville, Bombay, Murawai, Snells Algies, Wellsford and Warkworth because they have local water sources.
  • The restrictions do not apply if you are using non-potable/untreated water and are therefore not connected to the metropolitan supply network.

How long will restrictions be in place?
Until further notice.

It rained recently, is that the end of the drought?
No. We need significant rainfall over several weeks to have any impact on our water stores.

Why are you implementing water restrictions in winter?
Around New Zealand, many communities have water restrictions in summer to reduce ‘peak’ demand. This is when communities may want to use more water than their local treatment plants can produce. We have enough capacity at our treatment plants to meet ‘peak’ demand and therefore we do not need to restrict use in summer. However, we are experiencing a severe drought and we don’t know how long it will last. Therefore, we need to implement water restrictions to ensure we make the best-use of the water we have left in our dams – until the drought breaks.

Why haven’t you found new water sources over the past 20 years?
We have been staying ahead of population growth by expanding our Waikato Water Treatment Plant. We have secured new water sources for our rural communities. For example, we secured a bore and built a water treatment plant in Warkworth.

Can Watercare build a new dam?
This winter (2020), our focus is on bringing two former water sources – Hays Creek Dam in Papakura and a bore in Pukekohe – back into service. This requires us to build temporary water treatment plants and connect these to the existing water network.

Why can't Watercare just take more water from the Waikato River?
We are already drawing as much water as we can from the Waikato River – up to 175 million litres a day. If we did not have the Waikato River, our water supply would be critically low. In 2013, we applied to the Waikato Regional Council to draw more water. Under the Resource Management Act, the Council is required to review applications in the order they are received. Currently, there are more than 100 applications ahead of ours. Before we applied, we examined 76 water supply options and found that increasing our take from the Waikato River is the most viable large-scale solution. This will require us to build a second water treatment plant in Tuakau and a second water pipe to the city.

We've increased our take of Waikato River water but by how much?
When the Waikato Water Treatment Plant first opened in 2002, it was able to produce up to 50 million litres a day. Since then, it has been expanded seven times, increasing its capacity to 75 million litres a day, 90 million litres a day, 110 million litres a day, 125 million litres a day,  150 million litres a day, 165 million litres a day and now 175 million litres a day. Check out our Waikato infographic for more information on the consents.

When Auckland began receiving water from the Waikato River, you said the city would never have water supply or drought issues again. What happened?
We said the Waikato Water Treatment Plant would ensure Auckland never runs out of water. That still holds true. Over the past 12 months, it has provided more than 30 per cent of the city’s water.

Can you start expanding the Waikato Water Treatment Plant and installing the new pipeline while you wait to receive the consent from the Waikato Regional Council?
The treatment plant expansion and pipeline will cost over $100 million. As a responsible organisation, we need to know – with certainty – that our application will be approved before committing to this level of investment.

What is Watercare's plan for the ongoing supply of water to the Auckland region?
Our water strategy outlines our infrastructure planning over the next 20 years.

If I have a question related to the drought or water restrictions, who do I contact?
Please email your enquiry to