Advisory Notice

Members of the public are advised that 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 risk is small, it is recommended that consumers flush a mugful of water from their drinking-water tap each morning before use to remove any metals that may have dissolved from the plumbing fittings.

We are recommending this simple precaution for all households, including those on public and private water supplies.


Wastewater is any water that has been used and is commonly referred to as sewage.

Council owns and runs 18 sewerage schemes throughout Southland at Balfour, Browns, Edendale-Wyndham, Gorge Road, Lumsden, Manapouri, Monowai, Nightcaps, Ohai, Otautau, Riversdale, Riverton, Stewart Island, Te Anau, Tokanui, Tuatapere, Wallacetown and Winton.

Preventing blockages

To prevent our sewers from getting blocked we need to make sure we only flush what we’re supposed to. Your toilet is not a rubbish bin.

It costs tens of thousands of dollars every year to repair damage caused by people flushing items they shouldn’t, such as disposable cleaning cloths.

There are 76 wastewater pump stations around the district and in the year to mid-August there have been 57 blockages. The problem is getting worse, and costs a lot to fix – repairs can range from $500 to $10,000.

While some products might say they can be flushed, they actually block up pipes and cause a lot of damage. The only things that should ever go down a toilet are human waste (urine and faeces) and toilet paper.

What not to flush?

  • Disposable cleaning cloths
  • nappies/disposable underwear
  • tampons & sanitary products
  • cotton balls & cotton buds
  • medications (return unused medicine to a pharmacy)
  • condoms
  • facial tissues
  • bandages
  • grease
  • cleaning products
  • dental floss.

Water quality

To find out more about water quality and whether it is safe to swim in the region's rivers visit Environment Southland (external link)


Stormwater is the water that runs off surfaces such as roads, footpaths and rooftops and travels down gutters into sumps and then into a stormwater network.

Council manages 28 stormwater networks at Balfour, Browns, Colac Bay, Dipton, Edendale, Limehills-Centre Bush, Lumsden, Manapouri, Monowai, Mossburn, Nightcaps, Ohai, Orepuki, Otautau, Riversdale, Riverton, Stewart Island, Te Anau, Thornbury, Tokanui, Tuatapere, Waikaia, Waikawa, Wairio, Wallacetown, Winton, Woodlands and Wyndham.

Recent testing of stormwater outlets in some locations around Southland has identified raised levels of e-coli and ammoniacal nitrogen.

Under our consent conditions we test our stormwater outfalls annually and inspect them every six months.

While this is a rare occurrence, we are advising the public not to swim, fish or wade in these areas for health reasons while our staff carry out further investigations. Caution signs will remain in place during this time.

Urban water supplies

Council owns and manages 11 urban water supply schemes at Edendale-Wyndham, Lumsden, Manapouri, Mossburn, Ohai-Nightcaps-Wairio, Orawia, Otautau, Riverton, Te Anau, Tuatapere and Winton.

Rural water supplies

Most of Council’s rural water supply schemes are not safe for human consumption.

Council owns and manages 11 rural water supply schemes at Duncraigen, Five Rivers, Homestead, Eastern Bush-Otahu Flat, Kakapo, Lumsden-Balfour, Matuku, Mount York, Princhester, Ramparts and Takitimu.

Two of Council’s rural water supply schemes – Eastern Bush-Otahu Flat and Lumsden-Balfour – are treated and can be used as drinking water for people. The rest of the rural schemes are used for stock water supply only.

You can purchase units from Council, which gives you a daily allocation of water you can take from the scheme. This is controlled by a restrictor device at your tank.

Please report faults and problems to Council. You need to have two days storage of water on your property in case the scheme needs to be shut down for repairs.

If your water supply runs out, check if there is any water running into your tank and if the tank is empty before contacting Council.

Conservation tips

go easy on your water info graphic

Indoor Conservation Tips

In the kitchen

  • Make sure your dishwasher is full before turning it on
  • fix leaking taps
  • put plug in sink when running water to wash fruits and veggies or for rinsing dishes
  • avoid using running water to defrost frozen food. Allow it to defrost overnight in the refrigerator or use your microwave to defrost food straight from the freezer.
  • check all taps are turned off properly
  • keep a water jug or bottle in your fridge instead of running the tap cold to get a cool drink of water
  • use a pressure cooker, microwave or steamer to save water. Simmer rather than boil your food and use tight lids to prevent evaporation
  • water used to cook boiled food can be re-used in soups or casseroles – or let it cool down and use it to water your garden
  • your plants will appreciate food scraps added to the compost heap! A lot of water is wasted running a waste disposal unit.

In the bathroom

  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or shaving
  • install a low-flow showerhead
  • use dual-flush on the toilet or place a filled water bottle in the toilet cistern
  • have showers instead of baths and keep your shower short
  • don’t use the toilet to flush items such as tissues or anything else that could go in the rubbish bin
  • check your toilet for leaks.

In the laundry

  • Make sure you do a full load or use the water filling guide depending on the amount of washing
  • front-load washing machines use 50 percent less water than top loaders

Outdoor Conservation Tips

In the garden

  • Collect water in drums or tanks from roof run off
  • minimise evaporation by watering during the early morning
  • don’t water on windy days: much of the water will evaporate and/or go where you don’t need it
  • check the forecast - if there's rain ahead, let it water for you
  • check your garden hose and taps regularly for leaks and use a trigger nozzle on the hose to reduce water loss
  • use recycled water (also known as grey water) that you have collected in your home to water your garden
  • use a trigger hose to water the garden, not a sprinkler, to control where and how much water is used. Also, aim for the roots, not the leaves
  • plant drought-resistant species in your garden. Native plants require less water than exotic plants.

The lawns

  • Do not worry about the lawn drying out over the summer as it will rejuvenate naturally with cooler and wetter weather
  • do not water your lawn on windy days
  • wash your car on the lawn so your lawn gets watered too
  • don’t cut the lawns too short. Lawns with more grass blades will hold water and require less irrigation.

The outdoors

  • Don't hose the dirt off your driveway, use a broom instead
  • use a bucket to wash the house or windows
  • make sure you check for leaks consistently and repair if necessary.