If your property is connected to a rural water supply (or a rural extension to an urban scheme) it will be via a restricted connection.
The restrictor enables the water supply to be shared equitably by all those on each scheme.
This restricted connection consists of a restrictor unit, which houses an inline filter, and a stainless steel flow control insert which has a small hole in it (see pictures above).
This hole allows a set amount of water to pass through the restrictor to fill up your tank (the water trickles through at a steady rate). The flow through this insert should be the same all day, every day, as long as your tank is not already full.
If you have an older connection, your restrictor may be near to or on the side of your tank.
Newer connections are usually at the property boundary, often in a blue-lidded box.
If you don’t know where your restrictor is, you can use Council’s GIS mapping system to check:
You must not tamper with this restrictor in any way as you will affect the supply to all those on the scheme.
Anyone doing so is liable to prosecution. It is our responsibility to make sure that it works properly so if you have any problems, please contact us on 03 543 8400 (24 hours).
Backflow is when water from the private side of the restrictor makes its way back into Council supply.
This water can be contaminated with chemicals or bacteria and can put other people connected to the water supply network at risk.
Under normal conditions, the water in the Council pipes is under pressure and so will only flow in one direction – from the Council main, through a supply pipe and into your tank.
For rural restricted supplies, the backflow protection occurs in the form of an air gap (see diagram). This is the gap between the top water level in your tank and the pipe coming into the tank from the restrictor. If the ballcock is functioning, then this gap always exists. It would then be unlikely that water can make its way back from your tanks into the Council’s supply.
If this set up is in place, your connection has adequate backflow protection. You will have a similar setup in your toilet cistern which stops the water being sucked from the cistern back into your pipes.
To protect all users on your scheme from the risk of backflow, your private pipe (which extends from the restrictor to your tank) must be connected directly to a tank with a functioning ballcock. No other connections between the restrictor and the tank are allowed.
Any stock troughs, pools, taps, hoses or any other water pipes must be connected afetr the tank and not before, even if their use is manually controlled and intermittent. This will minimise any risk of backflow.
If you have any connections between your restrictor and your tank, you must remove them and blank them off, as you are putting yourself, your neighbours and the water supply network at risk.
Check to make sure any hoses, stock troughs or taps at your property are being fed after main tank.
If you think you may have an unauthorised connection either off the main supply line or between your restrictor and tank, let us know and we can help you make it right.
A stock trough is not considered a ‘tank’. The ballcocks in these often fail and the water can be highly contaminated by stock.
It is your responsibility to have adequate storage to meet your needs.
For most homes (used as a residence only) this should be at least 25m3 storage.
For those with farms or lifestyle properties who receive more water, they must have 7 days’ storage, depending on their suppled amount (e.g. receive 8m3/day x 7 days = 56m3 storage).
Many of our rural supply pipes cross private land and forestry and so leaks are not always spotted quickly and repairs can take time. This means that there is a possibility that your supply could be interrupted for several days at a time. Having adequate storage means that you probably won’t notice if the supply goes off for a day or two.
What does this mean if you have a small tank? If you lose supply for any reason, you are at greater risk of running out of water after a few days. The Council is not responsible for refilling your tank for you.
Sometimes the filter in the restrictor unit can become blocked. This can cause the flow into your tank to reduce or stop altogether. It is your responsibility to check the level of your tank to make sure this is not happening.
If you have a 25m3 tank for a house, checking once a week would probably be enough. If you have a plastic tank, you can knock on the side of the tank to check the level.
If you have a concrete tank you may have to look in through the lid. An easier way to check is to install a level indicator. These aren’t too expensive and one example is a float with a brightly coloured flag or ball attached so it can be viewed from a distance.
If you notice that the flow has dropped or stopped, call us on 03 543 8400 and a contractor will attend your property to check the restrictor.