Buller District Council

Media Release-Westport residents urged to comply with water restrictions

6th September, 2017

Council says at current rates of consumption, Westport and Carters Beach will run out of water in less than two weeks unless residents comply with the restrictions in place.

Due to the collapse in the No.1 Tunnel, and the need to pump all water to the Westport Water Treatment Plant from the alternative water supply, the Westport/Carters Beach water supply has been struggling to maintain raw water reservoir levels.

Extended periods of moderate to heavy rainfall that we frequently experience do not ease the situation, and in fact create further issues. Water cannot be pumped from the alternative water supply creek in flood conditions as the debris in the water prevents the pumps from operating effectively. Pumping is halted until the creek conditions return to normal. This means that consumer demand continues to deplete the reservoirs further.

Water conservation measures were introduced in late April to try to reduce the water consumption by consumers as a precaution to prevent serious shortages later on. These conservation measures were unsuccessful and water restrictions were then placed on the supply in early May.

Group Manager Assets & Infrastructure Mike Duff says, “While it is good that the restriction measures have resulted in a 10% drop in usage, unfortunately the restriction measures have been ignored by some residents and businesses who are continuing to use excessive water for car/truck washing, water blasting and other high water usage activities. This is really disappointing as it significantly increases the risk of us running out of water. As it is, even with the restrictions in place, our daily water usage per person is over triple that of the national average, which is 250-300 litres per person per day. Consumers on the Westport/Carters Beach water supply are currently using an average 985 litres per person per day. Leakage within the town’s reticulation was surveyed last month and was found to be at 4% which is lower than expected. As it stands, we now only have seven days of reserves left which we cannot replenish at the rate in which it is currently being consumed. The risk of running out of water is very real and will significantly impact on all those currently reliant on the supply. We want to avoid this at all costs, and urge everyone to play their part by complying with the restrictions in place.”

Buller District Council is now restricting the use of water to ESSENTIAL USE ONLY. This means that water use is restricted to drinking water, water used for cooking and water used for sanitation purposes (ie: showering, toilets, basic hygiene, laundry) only. There is a complete ban on outdoor water use which includes car/truck washing and garden irrigation. All other high use water activities are strictly prohibited. This applies to businesses as well as households.


Consumers are asked to notify Council if they come across any water leaks around town. This can be done by contacting our Customer Services team on 788 9111 or coming in and talking to one of our customer service officers. Comments on our Facebook page are not taken as formal notifications and will not be actioned.

Tips on saving water and updates on water restrictions can be found here

Water from private bores and rainwater tanks are not subject to these restrictions.


Live Cam