Napier is at risk of running out of water because demand has skyrocketed, and the council is warning residents not to drink dirty or murky tap water.
Water use has already increased to summertime amounts, and because of the low rainfall this spring the stored water levels have been pushed down to summer levels, Napier City Council said.
The council has started running another bore to keep the levels up, but warns this could make the water dirty.
It said some houses had had high levels of a chemical called manganese in their tap water.
Manganese deposits in the pipes can form black solids in water that can make it murky, and if this happens it should not be consumed or used for laundry.
Council said if people got dirty water they should run an outdoor tap for 15 minutes to clear it.
If there's no outdoor tap, they can use an indoor cold water tap, and if that doesn't fix it they have asked residents to call to let them know so they can flush the pipes in their street.
Council said despite the water shortage, it was important to flush the pipes by running the water for 15 minutes if the water was dirty, as clean water was the biggest priority.