Record high water use means the pumps drawing water from the aquifer into reservoirs feeding Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere cannot keep up with demand, prompting a sprinkler ban from today.
Without urgent water saving efforts, within days the system may not be able to get water to all homes across the Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere network.
Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said there was not a shortage of water, that there was plenty of water in the aquifer.
"The issue is that we have used an extremely large amount of water in the last week, and the pumps cannot go fast enough to keep up with demand. They are at capacity," he said.
He said that the Brookvale bores being closed was contributing to the issue.
"We are working hard to get one more bore open by Christmas which will ease the situation, but in the meantime we need everyone to pull together on this. We really need to help each other."
The 'stage 3' sprinkler ban status means outdoor discretionary use is banned: That means no sprinklers, no car washing, no pool filling.
Hand held hoses can be used on gardens between 6am and 8am in the morning and 7pm and 9pm in the evening.