Downlands Water Supply

Water Supplies

Where does our water come from?

Downlands supplies 78,000 hectares within the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie districts and has several different sources and treatment plants. Since July 2022, the Te Ana Wai water treatment plant on Richardsons Road near Albury supplies the majority of the Downlands Water Supply. This water is treated  with microfiltration, UV and chlorine.

The other  sources include:

  • The Waitohi intake supplies the area north of the Opihi and Te Ana Wai for approximately 6 months of the year
  • The Cameron's pump station takes water from the Timaru Urban Supply pipeline at Pareora River during peak demand periods only
  • The Pareora township intake (a shallow well) supplies the Pareora township only. This is treated with UV and chlorine.
  • The Springbrook/St Andrews treatment plant supplies St Andrews. This is treated with UV and chlorine.

Downlands is a restricted water supply which means that the daily allocation is supplied into your tank at a constant flow over a 24-hour period. Once the tank is full, the ballcock shuts off the flow.

Who looks after the water supply?

There is a Downlands Joint Standing Committee made up of 5 representatives appointed by the Timaru District Council and 3 members appointed by the Mackenzie and Waimate District Councils to oversee the governance of the scheme.

The Timaru District Council is responsible for the management and operation of the water supply and uses contractors to carry out maintenance work.

The Council is also responsible for the maintenance of the entire system up to and including your ballcock, provided:

  • the ballcock is not located inside a dwelling,  it is your responsibility and,
  • the ballcock is not located higher than 6m above the ground. The Council is not obliged to maintain the ballcock but will assist if prior arrangements have been made.

How is the water allocated?

Water is sold by the unit. Each unit allows for a supply of 1,000 litres per day, provided there is storage capacity available.

The updated allocation (as at November 2022) is based on a supply of 65 litres per hectare per day, plus 1,000 litres per dwelling per day where this allocation has been approved. The volume is then rounded to the appropriate unit.

Over recent years the subdivision of land has resulted in some reallocation of units and therefore the above formula may not strictly apply.

A restrictor unit is used with a jet which controls the volume of water to be supplied into your storage tanks.

It is illegal to tamper with the jet or remove it altogether to illegally obtain more water as this is an offence and may result in enforcement action.

The Timaru District Council regularly undertakes spot checks of restrictor units and carries out volume checks to ensure the correct allocation of water is being supplied.

A charge will be made to reinstate a seal that has been removed without approval.


Dry weather conditions may result in short supply because of low river levels and excessive use by consumers. When this happens hosing restrictions are put in place to help keep the demand for water down.

Restrictions are advertised in the newspaper and on our website

Need a service connection?

Water availability is contingent upon adhering to the allocation rules established by the Downlands Water Supply Committee and successfully passing a hydraulic assessment. For more details and to access the application form for requesting a new connection to the Downlands Scheme, obtaining extra water, or reallocating an existing connection, please visit our Downlands Reopening page.

All new, altered or upgraded connections are required to have:

  • 10,000 litres or three days allocation whichever is the greater, as the minimum onsite storage requirement outside. This excludes Pareora and St Andrews, which remains at 2 days storage.
  • Approved external level indication of water in storage tanks
  • Outlet piping arrangement from the storage tank such as a minimum of 20% of the tank volume be held in reserve


For any enquiries relating to the District's Water Supply please contact us:

  • Timaru District Council
    2 King George Place, Timaru 7910
    Phone: 03 687 7200
  • Temuka Service Centre
    King Street, Temuka 7920
    Phone: 03 687 7591
  • Geraldine Service Centre
    Talbot Street, Geraldine 7930
    Phone: 03 693 9336

Last updated: 07 Nov 2023