Water Restrictions Frequently Asked Questions

Who is affected by water restrictions?

All consumers on Timaru District Council's water supplies must comply with water restrictions set by Council. Water from private bores is not subject to these restrictions.

Are the restrictions mandatory?

Yes. The restrictions are mandatory.

Timaru District Consolidated Bylaw Section 1506.1 applies: "All persons shall comply with any supply and usage restrictions and prohibitions which may be imposed from time to time by Council in order to manage supply or demand issues. Such restrictions may be publicly notified."

Are there any activities that are exempt from restrictions?

Exemptions need to be applied for. All applications are decided on merit.

Why are we permitted to hose only at certain times?

You are allowed to water outdoors for a limited amount of time depending on the level of restrictions. The designated watering times permit watering during the coolest parts of the day, when the least amount of evaporation (due to the sun) will occur. The water is used more effectively.

When can I water?

The allowed times vary according to the Level of Restriction in force, but generally when a water restriction with a time constraint is in force (Level 2 to Level 4) you can only use water outdoors between 6pm and 8am.

What is considered wasting water?

Wasting water should not occur at anytime of the year regardless of whether water restrictions are in force. It is an offence to waste water or not comply with Water Restrictions.

Wasting water includes:

  • Permitting an irrigation system to run during a rainstorm with run off;
  • Permitting water to pool or run-off any lawn or garden;
  • Allowing a tap or hose to run unnecessarily;
  • Damage or deterioration of any water-using appliance that results in water wastage;
  • Operating a fountain or pond without re-circulating water;
  • Directing water onto a paved surface, including driveways, sidewalks, or roadways during irrigation;
  • Washing any vehicle or the outside of a building with the use of a hose not equipped with a shut off nozzle;
  • Use of flowing water instead of dry sweeping to remove loose debris from a residential driveway.

Can I water my newly planted garden outside the allowed time?

No, newly planted trees, shrubs and gardens can only be watered in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minues use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week.

Can I water my lawn outside the allowed time if it is newly laid or being treated with pesticides or fertilizer?

No, watering of lawns is not permitted. Watering of lawn that is newly laid or being treated with any pesticide, herbicide spray or fertilizer which requires water is subject to an application for exemption. If an exemption was approved it would likely require watering in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week.

Can I use water to fill garden ponds?

Yes, you may fill up garden ponds, but only in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week.

Can I use water to fill my swimming pool?

Yes, you may top-up permanently installed residential swimming pools, but only in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week.

Can I use water to fill a children's paddling pool?

Yes, you may fill a small movable paddling pool during the day without a specific exemption. However, the time allocation for water use in any restriction that currently applies would be reduced for that day by the time taken using the hose to fill the paddling pool.

Can I use a water slide (or slippery slide) for children during the day?

Yes, you may use a water slide for children during the day without a specific exemption. However, the time allocation for water use in any restriction that currently applies would be reduced for that day by the time taken using the hose for the water slide.

Can I wash my Vehicle or Boat?

Yes, you may wash vehicles or boats, but only in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week. We encourage consumers to use a bucket instead.

Can I wash outdoor surfaces or the exterior of my building? Can I use a water blaster?

Yes, you may wash outdoor surfaces or the exterior of a building, or use a water blaster, but only in compliance with any restrictions that apply. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week.

Are sports fields exempt from the watering schedule?

No. Sports field watering is subject to an application for exemption which will be decided by TDC based on merit.

My neighbour is not using water in accordance with the Restriction. How do I report this matter?

If you know your neighbour, you could make them aware of the Water Restriction that applies. Otherwise, report the case directly to TDC at telephone number (03) 687 7200 and our staff will attend to it.

How does TDC enforce Water Restriction?

TDC's policy is to provide education, information and warning notices to encourage compliance with the Water Restriction. However, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Timaru District Consolidated By-Law 2013 allows for enforcement through prosecution and restriction of the water supply to a property.

What are the penalties faced when a person contravenes the Water Restriction in force?

The water supply to a property may be restricted through a device that provides a very limited supply. A conviction under the Local Government Act 2002 for water wastage could result in a fine not exceeding $5,000 or for an offence against the bylaw of a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Is TDC required to issue an official warning to me before penalising me for violating the Water Restriction in force?

TDC's policy is to provide education, information and warning notices to encourage compliance with the Water Restriction. An official warning will be provided before a water supply restriction device is installed and before enforcement action is taken.

I am paying my rates, why can't I water my lawn whenever I want?

Restrictions are imposed to reduce water demand and encourage conservation by users. Our water supplies are only allowed to take water from sources according to limits set by Resource Consents. During summer, our sources may run low and in extreme weather conditions our water supplies approach the limit for water abstraction.

Are farmers covered by the water restrictions?

Some of Timaru District Council's water supplies cater to stock water requirements. Stock water supply is through troughs which are not subject to restriction. These rural water supplies are subject to the same restrictions for all other uses as urban supplies. For example, Level 4 Restriction allows 30 minutes use of a hand held hose for all purposes between 6pm and 8am on any day of the week and watering of lawns is not permitted.

TDC does not provide water for irrigation and horticultural purposes. When restrictions are imposed on public water supplies, irrigation restrictions for farmers usually occur at the same time. Irrigation restrictions in the Timaru District are managed by Environment Canterbury or the irrigation organisations such as Opuha Water.

Why can't I use the water stored in my tank on a rural water supply scheme for any use that I choose, as I've paid for my allocation?

Use of stored water for garden or lawn watering generally still requires the tank to be replenished which results in a demand on the rural scheme at a time when abstraction needs to be minimised. Therefore restrictions are imposed on all schemes. Paying for a rural water allocation is similar to paying for an urban water supply connection in that it is primarily a mechanism for charging for the operation of the water supply schemes. It does not guarantee an uninterrupted or unrestricted supply.

Do restrictions apply to using rain water that I've collected and stored?

No, restrictions do not apply to collected rain water. However this water must be on an entirely fully separate system to the public supply.