A fireman in the small South Island town of Collingwood has been criticised after he used a hydrant to fill up a local school's swimming pool.
The controversial move impacted the town's drinking water supplies and left the fire service without any water to fight fires, reports the Nelson Mail.
Tasman District Council utilities manager Mike Schruer said the "extremely risky" move created a "significant public health and fire risk" for the rural town.
"This action caused the reservoir to drain completely, triggering a significant drop in chlorine and pH levels, and leaving the town with no fire-fighting water supply," he told the paper.
Mr Schruer said it took about 12 hours for the Collingwood reservoir to return to normal operational levels.
However, Graeme Miller, the chief fire officer of the Collingwood Volunteer Fire Brigade, says using a fire hydrant did not drain the town of water for fire emergencies.
Mr Miller says the fire service also had access to a 30,000 litre tank and a dam behind the school which could be used in an emergency.
The council says it has written to the school and sent it a bill for the water used, and for investigating what it initially believed was a water leak.