The Little River water supply scheme provides water to residential and commercial properties in Little River and Cooptown.

Water for the Little River water supply scheme is taken from Police Creek, and passes through a settlement tank before flowing by gravity to the treatment plant on Council Hill Road. At the treatment plant, the water passes through a sand filter before being disinfected with chlorine.  Treated water is stored in a reservoir at the treatment plant site, and from there it is piped to properties in Little River.  

It is a restricted water supply, which means that each house is required to have a storage tank which can receive up to 1,000 litres of water over 24 hours. It is recommended that you have a tank that has capacity for at least 48 hours of water. 

During a storm, the amount of suspended material (turbidity) in the water in Police Creek increases due to runoff from the surrounding catchment, which makes it more difficult to treat.  

The treatment plant is being upgraded to meet the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand.  A new 115-metre-deep well has been drilled on Council Hill Road to provide an additional source of water that will be unaffected by rainfall.  Water will be taken from Police Creek and the well.  Water from the well will be pumped to the treatment plant, where it will be softened and then disinfected by UV light.  Water from Police Creek will pass through upgraded sand filters and then be disinfected by UV light.  Treated water will be stored in a new, larger reservoir on the treatment plant site, which will reduce the likelihood of water shortages and has provided capacity for a limited number of new connections.   

A new pipeline has been installed to extend the water supply to properties in Cooptown.  Once the treatment plant upgrade is complete, water will be supplied to Cooptown and some rural properties as well as Little River.

Who is responsible for installing the scheme?

The Council is responsible for pipes to the boundary of the properties, and for upgrading the water treatment plant.

Key steps for connecting to the scheme

Owners of each small settlement title in Little River and Cooptown can apply for connection. Rural title properties where the reticulation pipe passes within 100 meters of a dwelling can also apply for connection.  

The Council will supply a restricted supply of one unit, or 1000 litres a day at a rate of 0.7 litres per minute.

Rural properties that do not meet the criteria will not be connected.

Commercial addresses that have a current allocation will retain that allocation, and any new commercial properties will need to apply.

The property owners pay for anything beyond the point of supply at the boundary as designated by the Council. 

The property owner responsibilities are:

  1. Apply to join the scheme by completing an Application for water connection(external link) (WS1) [PDF 50KB]
  2. Apply for building consent (external link)(if required)
  3. Install tank – minimum 2000 litres if you do not have 2000 litres of storage or greater already plus rain water 5000 litre tank 
  4. Engage a registered plumber to carry out all work on private land.

Each property owner who connects to the supply may need to lodge a Building Consent Application before installation of the tank and plumbing work associated with connecting the tank to the Christchurch City Council Restrictor and the dwelling. This work is required to be carried out by a licensed Craftsmen (Plumber).  Building consent is generally not required to install a water storage tank under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. Section 23 of Schedule 1 states that a building consent is not required for the following building work:

Section 23 NZ Building Act 2004 - Tanks and pools (excluding swimming pools)
Building work in connection with a tank or pool and any structure in support of the tank or pool (except a swimming pool as defined in section 2 of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987), including any tank or pool that is part of any other building for which a building consent is required, that -

  1. does not exceed 500 litres capacity and is supported not more than 4 metres above the supporting ground; or
  2. does not exceed 1,000 litres capacity and is supported not more than 3 metres above the supporting ground; or
  3. does not exceed 2,000 litres capacity and is supported not more than 2 metres above the supporting ground; or
  4. does not exceed 4,000 litres capacity and is supported not more than 1 metre above the supporting ground; or
  5. does not exceed 8,000 litres capacity and is supported not more than 0.5 metres above the supporting ground; or
  6. does not exceed 16,000 litres capacity and is supported not more than 0.25 metres above the supporting ground; or
  7. does not exceed 35,000 litres capacity and is supported directly by ground.

Can I join the scheme at a later date?

There will be no restriction to eligible landowners joining the Little River and Cooptown water scheme in future. 

All applicants must meet the small settlement or connection to a rural property criteria, which is:

  • location within the small settlement zone, or
  • a dwelling that is located within 100 metres of the pipe that passes the boundary of their property.

There will be no additional cost to join the scheme apart from any increase in the connection fee and targeted rate which are set each financial year. Costs include costs of extension of reticulation to enable connections.


The connection fee and any additional costs to provide supply are to be paid before the work starts.

Small settlement property owners connecting to the scheme will pay a targeted water rate. The rate for the 2016/2017 year is $180 per unit.


Residents treat their own wastewater though septic tanks.  A wastewater scheme for Little River is not included in the Council's Long Term Plan 2015-25(external link), but may be included in a future Long Term Plan.