Be Water Wise


Saving Water

Water is a precious resource and the Gore District Council encourages everyone to use it wisely.

In urban areas there is a year round ban on sprinklers between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

There are four levels of water restrictions:

Level 1: A public notice is issued warning people they need to conserve water

Level 2: Use of hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems restricted to alternate days between 7.00pm and 9.00pm.

Level 3: Total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems. Handheld hoses can be used only between 7.00pm and 9.00pm on alternative days.

Level 4: Total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and handheld hoses. Car washing by handheld hose prohibited.

What are water restrictions?

Water restrictions set boundaries for water use when our resources run low, which is generally during hot weather. They help everyone play their part in using water wisely. In urban areas there is a year round ban on sprinklers between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

Why do we have water restrictions?

To make sure there is enough water for everyone to use, whether it’s to wash your car, water the garden or brush your teeth.

The Mataura River flows through the middle of Gore, so why do we have restrictions?

Water is not an unlimited resource and while the Mataura River will always have water in it, the flow can get so low that we have to put restrictions in place to comply with Environment Southland’s regulations. The river’s source is south of Lake Wakatipu, in the Eyre Mountains, and in theory the river has an impact on the aquifers that we draw water from for Gore.

Where does Gore and Mataura’s water come from?

Gore has two water sources, both located north of the town. One is on the west side of the Mataura River and is known as the Jacobstown Well. There is also a source on the east side of the river known as Cooper’s Wells. Mataura’s water comes from the Pleura Dam while the Waikana Stream is a secondary source in times of high demand or dry periods.

What happens if the wells or dam get low?

We are allowed to lay emergency pipelines from the river to pump water into the aquifer, which in turn tops up the wells. Mataura has an emergency pump that takes water from the river directly to the treatment plant. Pumping from the river is only for emergencies and can cause issues with the taste and odour of the water even though it is treated to our required standards.

Do restrictions mean I can’t wash my car during the summer?

No, it just means that you may be only allowed to use the hose during certain times, or have to use a bucket of water when it’s really bad.

If we get a day’s rain in Gore are restrictions lifted?

No. It takes more than a day or two of rain to recharge our wells. There also needs to be sustained rainfall in the headwaters of the Mataura River, not just in Gore, for river levels to rise.

If there is a leak on the road or footpath what should I do?

Please ring us immediately on (03) 209 0330 so we can start the process to get it fixed. It is important to be as specific as you can about where the leak is, how much water there is and whether it’s a toby tap or water main. We use this information to prioritise the work.

Will a leak be fixed straight away once it has been reported?

Not necessarily. We need permission before we can dig up certain streets or roads in Gore. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and the public, documentation stating where we will dig, what day and how long it may take to repair the leak has to be signed off before any work is undertaken.  A major water main break is classified as an emergency and the road can be dug up immediately.

Do the water restrictions apply to businesses as well as residents?

Businesses are encouraged to conserve water but are not subject to the same restrictions because they are on water meters and pay extra for their water. They are required to significantly cut back water use when we are on level 4 restrictions.

Water Saving Tips


  • Water the highest parts of the garden first then any run off will go to the lower dry areas.
  • Dig a small trench around trees to help retain water.
  • Watering in the early morning or evening reduces water lost to evaporation.
  • It's preferable to use a bucket to wash the car instead of the hose, saves up to 125 litres of water.
  • Wash your car like professional race-car groomers – use a dry-washing agent and wax. This looks after the paintwork and keeps the car looking its glossy best
  • Wash your car on the grass and water your lawn at the same time.
  • Don't leave the sprinkler running all day - use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
  • Sweep paths and drive ways instead of washing them.


  • Take shorter showers, every minute less saves seven litres of water.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving, a running tap wastes 10 litres per minute.
  • Put the plug in the sink when preparing vegetables and save up to 10 litres per minute.
  • Wait until you have a full load before starting your dishwasher, use the eco-setting - saves 40 litres for each wash
  • Keep a jug of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap water until its cold - saves up to 2 litres per glass
  • When boiling vegetables, use just enough water to cover them and use a tight fitting pot lid - better still, use the microwave
  • Check your toilet for leaks - put a few drops of food colouring into the toilet cistern. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs repairing. Leaks waste up to 32,000 litres per month
  • Repair leaky taps, hoses or fittings - that goes for sinks, basins and outside taps too. This can save up to 32,000 litres per month.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: