Central Hawke's Bay has had water restrictions pulled back to Level 3, but parts of the damaged water system remain at risk of failure.

Waipawa and Otane came dangerously close to running out of water entirely on Friday after an external contractor on private land caused severe damage to the primary water main which feeds the Waipawa Reservoir, compromising the water supply to both towns while emergency repairs took place.

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Chief Executive of Central Hawke's Bay District Monique Davidson said that more checks would be carried out with the pipe "still vulnerable".

"Plans are in place to inspect the remainder of the 125 metre pipeline and check for further damage," Davidson said.


"In the meantime, it is essential that we maintain a high reservoir level while we assess its condition."

With total outdoor water bans in place over a hot weekend following the incident, the council opened up the Waipawa and Districts Centennial Memorial Pool at no charge on January 11 and 12, with hundreds of locals taking advantage of the offer of a free dip.

The coastal community of Kairakau has also been under pressure this summer after the failure of a bore feeding the area's network on Friday, January 3, meant Level 4 water restrictions were put in place but they have since dropped down to Level 3.

Level 3 water restrictions means sprinkler use is prohibited, however hand-held hoses can be used on alternate days only, at limited times.

Private washing of vehicles or buildings is allowed only with a bucket or sponge and swimming pools can be topped up for a maximum of 15 minutes per day.