Dannevirke residents are being asked to conserve water as much as possible as the dry weather continues and the town's leaky dam remains only one third full.
Tararua District Council infrastructure manager Chris Chapman said it was not a full-blown emergency as in the 2019-2020 drought.
"But at the moment we're certainly using more water as a town than we can currently take under our resource consent."
The Tamaki River was down to less than 240 litres per second, which restricted how much the council could take under consents with Horizons Regional Council.
Dannevirke was currently under a level four restriction which was a total ban on outdoor use – that meant no sprinklers and no hoses could be used.
Chapman said normally the water use was supplemented from the storage dam.
However, the dam was not at full capacity due to a leak that was discovered in July last year.
It was believed that the drought had caused the ground to dry out and contract, which led to the plastic liner being damaged.
Repairs were completed by early December and the reservoir was being refilled, but the council was still restricted by consents on how much it could take.
"Because of the leak and our inability to fill [the reservoir] completely before the river entered low flows, we can't get through all of summer so we do need to reduce the demand to a point that's sustainable," Chapman said.
"We're trying to take a proactive approach into addressing demand before we get into emergency situations."
The weather forecast from MetService was predicting rain from Sunday for at least a week, but that might not be enough.
Chapman said the rain would help, but even if the river levels were high, there were still restrictions.
"It's not like open season where we fill everything up as quick as we can," he said.
"It will certainly give us a bit of a buffer but not enough. It's not going to put us in the green zone for the rest of summer."
The other problem was that it was a small catchment in the Tamaki River, so while it might pour down in town, it could be minimal there.
"It takes a lot of consistent rainfall before we can increase our take limits."
Mayor Tracey Collis understood residents' concerns.
She said the impounded supply was there because the town had always gone to restrictions and the aim when it was put in was to mitigate that.
"We had the drought and then we had the leaks.
"We've also had an increase in population.
"There's a lot of factors there and we've got a lot of extraordinary water users on our supply as well.
"This is just the way the town's grown out and how those systems were put in place in the early days."
Under current water restrictions, there would be a process to apply for extraordinary water use in which council would consider exemptions.
Application forms would be available at the service centres and on council's website.
Enforcement action might also be required to be taken against those who did not adhere to the water restriction level.
Council was offering tips on how to conserve water and was working with extraordinary users to see what could be done to help.
Some tips included: recycling grey water, especially in gardens; not doing laundry unless it's a full load; shortening time in the shower; or cooking food in as little water as possible.
"If everyone plays their part, we should get through summer without any emergencies," Chapman said.
Pahiatua would be moving to alternative evening restrictions and Woodville was also moving to alternate days.