Tauranga City Council: Streams that supply water to city at lowest levels on record

The streams that supply water to Tauranga are at the lowest levels the local council has ever seen - and it's pleading with residents to use it wisely.

Restrictions that would have normally been lifted after summer are still in place in mid-May.

Water supply manager at the Tauranga City Council Peter Bahrs says there is a large difference between the water level from last year at Tautau Stream.

"It's literally a trickle that we're seeing," he says.

"A year ago there was probably double or three times the amount of water in the stream."

The council claims it has had to continue a sprinkler ban which is usually lifted in March after some streams in the region are recording their lowest water levels on record.

NIWA scientist Chris Brandolino says the area has only received around 60 percent of its normal rainfall in 2021.

"There's a large part of the country running a deficit meaning it hasn't rained as much as it typically does."

Around 20 million litres are sourced out of the stream every day for drinking water and the council said it is conscious of what it's taking to ensure there is no risk to fish life.

About 230 litres of water is pumped out of the stream each second and it supplies water to half the population of Tauranga, about 75,000 people.

To ensure people know where their water comes from, the council wants residents to understand there is a lot more that goes into providing it than just their tap.

"Water gets pumped from here [stream] up to our microfiltration treatment plant and that gets the water safe for human consumption and we distribute that into the city," Bahrs says.

Tauranga resident Doreen Marwood claims she could still use her hand-held hose on her prized persimmon tree but says she will wait until it rains.

"We're only stewards of the world and if we're not doing our bit and just take, take, we lose the balance."

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