Drinking water

A chrome tap with running water

Whanganui District Council provides the city’s residents with a continuous supply of water at acceptable volume, pressure and quality, as well as a fire-fighting capacity in defined areas.

Water used in Whanganui’s urban area comes from four artesian bores – three at Kai Iwi and one at Aramoho.

Watch our video about the water supply 

An auxiliary bore is also available at the Westmere water facility on State Highway 3 – three large reservoirs, each holding 23,000 cubic metres of water, provide the bulk of supply storage. Some auxiliary storage is also available at Bastia Hill and Aramoho.

After treatment, water is supplied to the city and distributed to consumers through the reticulation network using pump stations in certain areas to maintain the desired pressure and flow.

Separate rural schemes are operated at Fordell, Mowhanau, Westmere and Maxwell. Each scheme has its own committee.

Services provided to urban consumers

  • Supply is available to all serviced properties 99% of the time.
  • Flow at point of supply generally exceeds 15 litres per minute.
  • Pressure at point of supply generally ranges from 20m to 60m static head.
  • Water is chlorinated and/or ozonised and meets New Zealand Drinking Water Standards 2005 (revised 2008).
  • Information is available on request to assist with locating pipes electronically through BeforeUDig. Onsite service / toby locations are also available on request within five working days (for water supply only).
  • Ongoing maintenance and operation of the network and facilities ensures functionality and availability of service.
  • Quality, quantity and pressure complaints and/or enquiries are responded to within 24 hours.
  • Leaks are repaired within five working days.

Services provided to rural users vary between schemes. New domestic connections will be installed within eight working days of receipt of the connection fee.

Discoloured tap water

Discoloured tap water can be caused by repair or renewal work on pipes dislodging silt. It can also be caused by water main flushing, which councils carry out as scheduled maintenance to flush out any sediment that may have built up in the network.

If your water is discoloured, run the OUTSIDE tap for 10 minutes to see if it clears. If it doesn't clear, please report it to the council on our 24-hour phone line: (06) 349-0001.

Discoloured water is safe but may stain clothes, so we would recommend waiting until the water is clear before putting on a load of laundry.

Water mains flushing

Mains flushing, hydrant flushing and valve maintenance are essential parts of our routine maintenance programme and have the following benefits:

  • Ensures fire hydrants and valves are working properly
  • Removes sediments in water supply mains and improves water quality
  • Helps to identify weaknesses in the water reticulation system
  • Checks for closed valves that may contribute to weak flows and pressures in the system.

City-wide flushing from 8am to 5pm, 21-23 June inclusive

From Wednesday 21 June, contractors will be busy flushing out the mains throughout Whanganui to remove any sediment build-up as well as ensure the fire hydrants are operating properly. This work involves forcefully releasing water through the pipes, via the hydrants.

Local contractors Bullocks, Downer, Loaders, Redstar Services, TD Drilling, and Veolia will complete the daily flushing between 8am and 5pm. The flushing will continue up until 5pm on Friday 23 June.

Unfortunately, we can't give exact times and locations for this routine maintenance, but you may notice water coming out of the fire hydrant in your street, with contractors in attendance. If you notice some water discoloration, air in the water, or low water pressure after your street has been flushed we recommend you run your outside taps for 10 to 15 minutes.

If the water hasn't cleared after 15 minutes please call the council’s Infrastructure team on 06 349 3047 or our after-hours team on 06 349 0001. We do not expect any temporary change to the taste and smell of the water. 

If you think your business may be affected by the flushing, please call the infrastructure team on 06 349 3047.

City-wide flushing is a new initiative (usually this routine maintenance is done on a smaller scale, based on a particular suburb or grouping of streets). This work has the potential to become an annual event as continuous flushing helps maintain water quality. While the water entering the system is of very high quality, it can deteriorate ie with sediment build-up, so it’s best to clean out the mains on a regular basis.

During the flushing, the hydrants will be open for between 15 and 20 minutes. It’s recommended that you don’t use your washing machine or dishwasher during this time if possible.

Use of sprinklers

There are no restrictions on the use of automatic garden sprinklers. Hand-held hoses can also be used at any time. 

Ministry of Health public notice

Whanganui’s drinking water is classified as plumbosolvent, meaning some plumbing fittings have the potential to allow minute traces of 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 dissolved from the plumbing fittings.

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

Director-General of Health