Residents close to Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay are threatening to withhold their rates because of discoloured and smelly water.
The small communities around Te Awanga and Haumoana often have brown water flowing from their taps.
Te Awanga resident Nicky Woodward said the discoloured water yesterday afternoon was some of the worst she had ever seen.
"It was a dark brown really, a dark sort of rusty brown," she said.
"It's not the first time either, every day the water is discoloured so we bathe the kids every day and for months it hasn't been clear but yesterday was particularly nasty.
"A lot of people have said that they plan to withhold their rates payments. I don't know what that would do."
She said she sent a message directly to the local MP and mayor about the issue.
Hastings District Council senior project engineer Steve Cave said the water was safe to drink, but understood it was not pleasant.
High levels of manganese in the water were causing the odd colours, Cave said.
A new water source was due to open in just a few weeks, he said.
"For the last two years, we've been working on a project to deliver a totally new drinking supply for the Cape Coast community."
The council has found a new source of water, drilling and constructing a new bore in a deeper aquifer.
"This new source ... has very low levels of manganese."
He said the new drinking water plant and bore were due to be operational in mid-November.