Coastal Taranaki residents are being warned they must conserve water or face complete outdoor water bans.
In Ōākura, the town's storage reservoir has dropped to 65 percent, dangerously close to the 50 percent which must be held in reserve for firefighting purposes.
The New Plymouth District Council reservoir is usually 80 percent full.
Chief operating officer Kelvin Wright said complicating matters, Ōākura's second water bore was out of action due to quake damage and a fix was some time away.
Mr Wright said people in Ōākura were simply using too much water given the dry conditions.
"Residents in Ōākura used 33 percent more water than the town's average daily demand on 3 February, whereas residents on the New Plymouth water supply used just six percent more than its daily average on the same day.
"If residents in Ōākura really cut back on how much water they use, we might be able to delay having to ban all outdoor water use while we cross our fingers for heavy rain."
Meanwhile, flows were so low in Ōkato's Mangatete Stream a complete ban on all outdoor water use was close for the village.
Mr Wright said recent rainfall in the area had not been enough to ease the situation.
Residents of the whole New Plymouth District were only allowed to use hand-held hoses on an odds and evens letterbox-to-date system from the beginning of January through to 31 March.
Over the next decade, the council has earmarked $44 million to upgrade its water network, including finding new sources of water and the creation of new reservoirs.
Tips on how to save water:
- Don't use sprinklers
- Don't leave hoses/irrigation units unattended
- Please keep to the odds and evens letterbox/date system for using hand-held hoses.