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Water restrictions

Did you know that Wellington’s daily water supply is finite?  

In winter, when there's plenty of rain and the river levels are healthy, we can supply up to about 220 million litres of water per day.

In summer, when it’s hot and dry and river levels drop, this can go down to 170 million litres of water per day. 

That might sound like a lot, but due to leaks in our aging network (which we're working hard on finding and fixing), population growth and the fact that Wellingtonians use on average more water than any other metropolitan region in Aotearoa, our water use adds up fast – getting up to 205 million litres per day in summer and dipping into our stored water! 

But this stored water is precious and is critical for getting through a long dry period, and in summer it’s harder to refill the lakes. So over time, they get lower and lower, leaving Wellington with less and less water stored and available until next winter.

This means we have to be careful to manage our daily water supply and demand, and don’t use too much.   

That’s where water restrictions come in. They help everyone understand how they can best manage their personal water use, so there’s enough to go round for the necessities.  

Click on your local council to find out what water restriction level you're in, and scroll down to learn what each water restriction level means. 

Want some help conserving water at your place? Check out some simple water saving tips.

Businesses and non-residential users, get guidance on managing your water use here.

Current Water Restrictions

South Wairarapa District Council

Currently at Level 2

Upper Hutt City Council

Currently at Level 2

Porirua City Council

Currently at Level 2

Hutt City Council

Currently at Level 2

Wellington City Council

Currently at Level 2

Water Restriction Level 1 - Use sprinklers every second day

Outdoor residential water restrictions start at Level 1. If you live in an even numbered house, you can use sprinklers or irrigation systems only on even numbered days between 6-8am and 7-9pm. If you live in an odd numbered house, the same rules apply for odd numbered days.  

There is a finite amount of water we can make safe and supply each day. 

Sprinklers and irrigation systems are restricted to these times because it helps limit water evaporating in the heat of the day.

Dividing houses by odd and even numbers spreads the load of daily water demand, and helps manage daily supply levels.  

You can use handheld watering devices any time, on any day, so long as you don’t leave them unattended. 

Water restriction Level 1 applies all year round for Upper Hutt and South Wairarapa (Martinborough, Greytown and Featherston). Level 1 automatically comes into effect during Daylight Saving months (September - April) for Lower Hutt, Wellington City and Porirua. Water restriction levels are regularly monitored and updated as needed.

Water Restriction Level 2 - No sprinklers or irrigation. Only water your garden by hand.

All unattended watering systems are banned – ie. sprinklers and irrigation systems.  

You can water your garden by hand anytime, on any day, so long as you don’t leave your garden hose or watering device unattended. 

For more information, check out our FAQs

Water Restriction Level 3 - Stop residential outdoor water use

There is a ban on all residential outdoor water use. Businesses can continue to operate as normal, but please be pragmatic and responsible when watering. 

Following Level 3 restrictions can reduce the risk of moving to Level 4. 

For more information, check out our FAQs

Water Restriction Level 4 - Stop all outdoor water use, reduce indoor water use

Water Restriction Level 4 means there is a significant water shortage. 

At level 4 there is a ban on all outdoor water use, and we need to reduce indoor water use to ensure there is enough water for everyone. 

To help save water, people should stop all outdoor water use, take 2 minute showers and limit their laundry use to 1 load per person per week.