The police broke up a protest over water outside the Canterbury Regional Council in central Christchurch today.
Five people were arrested for disorderly behaviour by 10 police officers, after they refused to move off two water mains in Tuam Street.
The group, the Extinction Rebellion Otautahi, was made up of about 20 protesters and switched off the primary and back-up mains, which provide water to the regional council.
A spokesperson Rowan Brooks said they were unhappy with how the council had been monitoring and looking after the region's water.
"It'd be great to see a plan which is about restoring our groundwater, and part of that means changing how we're farming - so shifting away from the mass irrigation, to building soil, restoring wetlands, planting trees, shifting to more diverse forestry."
He said it should not have given consent to bottling companies to take water from local aquifers.
The regional council said it asked the police to turn on the water.
The water was switched back on this afternoon.