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Council manages water supplies to support the health and well-being of the community.

Water is an essential need for individuals and commercial operations. Council provides sufficient quantities of potable water for domestic and commercial needs and public amenities. Council water management is required under a number of legal statutes.

Westport water supply

The Westport Water Supply is from a creek catchment in the hills behind Westport and is transferred to the reservoirs by a series of underground tunnels and pipes. These tunnels combined, are over 1,900 metres in length and were constructed around 1903, which in those days was a remarkable feat. The water is then coagulated for colour sediment and bacteria removal, treated with lime for pH adjustment, UV for protozoa removal and chlorination for additional treatment of bacteria and viruses.

Other water supplies

There are different levels of water treatment in Buller.

  • The Cape Foulwind water supply (Wilsons Lead Road and Bulls Rd) is a stock supply not intended for human use.
  • A permanent boil water notice applies for Little Wanganui Subdivision, Mōkihinui, Ngakawau/ Hector, South Granity and Waimangaroa.
  • Ngakawau/Hector and South Granity are privately operated supplies
  • Mōkihinui has a community operated supply.

Find out more about Buller's untreated water supplies here.

Download a guide to collecting and using rainwater for self-supply here.


Drinking water is capable of dissolving very small levels of heavy metals such as lead and copper out of some household plumbing and fittings. This is means the water is plumbosolvent.

This applies to all households in New Zealand, including those on public and private water supplies in the Buller district.

Find out more and be in tune with what you need to do. 

The Ministry of Health has urged Councils to make residents aware that some plumbing fittings have the potential to allow minute trace metals to accumulate in water standing in the fittings for several hours.

Although the health risk is small, the Ministry of Health recommends that you flush a mugful of water from your drinking water tap each morning before use to remove any metals that may have corroded from the plumbing fittings.

The Ministry of Health recommends this simple precaution to all households, including those on public and private water supplies.

Conserving water and water restrictions

Water is a valuable resource and demands on its usage are always increasing. Even in places renowned for rain (like the West Coast) it is important that we don’t unnecessarily waste water.

Once a water supply falls below 70% a restricted water use order is put in place. If the water supply falls below 50% an essential water use order is issued. These orders remain in place until the reservoir has sufficiently recovered. 

These will be issued on our water notices, facebook page and print, radio or email if required.

Water restriction definitions

Water can be used for drinking, food preparation, hygiene and sanitary purposes only. There is a complete ban on any outdoor water use.

Limited use of water for operational and maintenance priorities as required for business sustainability.

Limited residential outdoor use with hand-held buckets, watering cans and no water blasting allowed.

No high-use consumption/filling activities or general hard-surface hosing is permitted, including unattended sprinkler devices.

Considerate use of water for all activities, following Council’s water saving tips.

Conservation replaces ‘normal use’ for our current system.

Below are a few water conservation hints that can help to save water.


Be aware of the amount of water you use and look for ways to use less.


A leaking tap can waste more than 350 litres of water each day. Check your taps and replace worn washers or valve seats as needed. Use low flow shower heads, aerators or flow restrictors. For older toilets, install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a brick or large stone. Always use fittings appropriately rated for your area, Westport in particular has very high water pressure. Use of appropriately rated pipes and fittings is especially important in pipes over 25m long or where a leak would go unnoticed.

Save outdoors

Water your lawn or gardens only when it needs it. Landscape with trees and shrubs that require less water. Water gardens with a handheld hose or watering can rather than leaving a sprinkler unattended, consider collecting roof water for your garden.

Metered water connections

Find out about metered water connections here.

Application to install

If you want to install water, stormwater or sewer services or a vehicle crossing on a road in Buller, use our online or paper application form.

Water supply problem?

Please contact:

  • WestReef Services Ltd – 03 788 9090
  • Buller District Council – 0800 807 239/03 788 9111 (Westport)
  • 03 732 8821 (Reefton) 03 732 8092 after hours

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