Restricted Water Supplies
All of the Rural Water Schemes in the Clutha District operate as restricted water supplies, i.e. the flow of water into each property is restricted to a maximum flow to ensure all consumers receive a fair and constant supply.
All of the townships that are connected to these schemes also operate as restricted supplies – this includes Kaka Point, Waihola, Clinton, Owaka, Tokoiti, Tuapeka Mouth, Waitahuna, Heriot, Pukerau and Waikaka.
This means that every property connected to one of these schemes should have the water supply to their property restricted.
How Does a Restricted Water Scheme Work?
Rural water schemes require very long lengths of pipe to reach each consumer. For example, the North Bruce Rural Water Scheme around Milton has around 312km of pipe-work, compared to around 38km of pipe-work in the Balclutha Urban Water Supply.
In order to keep these schemes affordable, pipes are kept as small as possible and are sized to only allow a restricted amount of flow at each consumer’s supply tank. The restrictor allows water to flow steadily into the tank at a low rate, thus sharing the available water fairly. The day’s supply flows into your tank over a 24 hour period. The tank ensures there is plenty of water or the demand during the day for stock water and milking sheds for on-farm supplies and at houses for showers, washing machines, hoses, etc.
Restrictors are checked by Council on a regular cycle on both rural schemes and in smaller townships Where there is evidence that a restrictor has been removed or tampered with, the names of the respective property owner/occupier is reported to the appropriate Rural Water Scheme Committee. Because this is considered theft this is treated seriously by the Rural Water Scheme Committees and the Clutha District Council.
In most instances the property owner/occupier will be charged for costs to fix the restrictor and the cost of the stolen water under Council’s Water Supply Bylaw.
If appropriate, a prosecution under the Local Government Act (2002), Section 225(1)(d) will be pursued. This could result in a fine of up to $20,000.
Council is aware that water flow to some properties in the district is not restricted at present. This is illegal and has come about through people making unauthorised connections or modifications to their water supply. This is unfair on other consumers because these properties take the water away from other properties when demand is high.
No Restrictor or a Modified Restrictor?
If the supply to your property doesn’t have a restrictor at present, or has some other modifications to the restrictor or a direct connection to the main (e.g. to an appliance or a garden hose); you may not be aware of it as the changes could have been made long ago.
However, your water flow will be affected when a new restrictor is installed and some of your on-site system or fixtures and appliances may not work properly.
Some possible situations you could expect are:
- Restrictor in place with a tank (two days storage volume) and no direct connection. No problems will be experienced and no changes to your supply are required.
- No restrictor (or illegally modified restrictor) with a tank and no direct connection. Everything should work well once the restrictor is replaced, but the total volume of water you can use each day will reduce to the number of units you have paid for. No other changes to your supply arrangements are required as long as your tank has at least two days storage volume.
- A tank with or without a working restrictor, and a direct connection supplying only some fixtures or appliances. Examples of this are a shower or a dishwasher being supplied with a direct connection which does not supply the rest of the house. Some means of providing pressure for the fixture or fittings will need to be provided by the property owner otherwise they may not work after the supply is fed through a restrictor. This also applies to direct connections for cleaning or garden hoses.
- No tank or working restrictor with a direct connection supplying all needs. The property owner will need to install a tank with at least two days storage and may need some means of providing pressure for fixtures or fittings. If no action is taken, there will be almost a complete loss of pressure and flow after the restrictor is installed.
If you have a direct connection a reasonable pressure can be obtained by locating a new tank on a stand or up a hill; otherwise, a pressure pump system may need to be installed.
A plumber or local contractor will be able to arrange and install a new tank and/or a pressure pump.
If your water point of supply needs to be moved or the connection to the main needs to be altered, you will need to contact Council and fill in a Water Application Form.
Tank level indicators are also recommended to be installed.
Authorisation may be given in special circumstances to remove a restrictor temporarily due to a lack of flow. Make sure that you contact the Council to authorise any temporary removal, or you may risk prosecution or a fine. This removal must be carried out by Council’s Water Contractor.
If you contact Council voluntarily to sort out any illegal or suspect water connections (and fix them within a reasonably time frame) no further action will be taken.
Any problems with your water supply should be reported at your nearest Council office if during business hours or 0800 801 350 if outside business hours. Your report will be passed on to Council’s water services contractor for remedial action, which will also be recorded in our database for response tracking and follow-up if necessary.
Please contact the Water Services Team at the Council on 0800 801 350 for more information.
Restricted Water Scheme Brochure
If you want a copy of this information feel free to print this page or download our Restricted Water Supplies brochure: