Work commenced on a reticulated water supply in the 19th century and water was sourced from bores in the Central Business District. One of the effects of the 1931 Napier earthquake is the different soil properties within Napier City , depending on whether or not an area was submerged prior to the earthquake. The performance of certain materials is influenced by the different soil properties throughout Napier City.
The Tutaekuri River was diverted prior to the earthquake to reclaim Napier South and up to 1.2 metres of river silt was deposited to the east of Georges Drive. Metallic pipes and fittings that have subsequently been installed in the river silt are less prone to corrosion than similar pipes that have been installed in the old seabed to the west of Georges Drive.
A period of reconstruction, interrupted by the two wars of 1939-45 and Korea followed the earthquake. Though the latter had the effect of causing a boom in development, the former also had an effect on the supply of materials, noticeably in the poor quality of cast iron pipe, a problem that has become evident in recent years.
In 1968, Taradale Borough was amalgamated with Napier City and the reticulation of Taradale commenced, including a trunk main along Taradale Road, to connect to the main system. The amalgamation with Taradale also created the opportunity to utilise the high quality groundwater source in Taradale. The first public water supply well in Taradale was constructed in the early 1970's, and six more wells have been completed since. Lower water quality wells closer to Napier City have progressively been decommissioned; culminating with the decommissioning of the McLean Park bores in 1998. To improve security of supply to the city the Coverdale Well, located in the fringe zone between the good and poor quality areas, has been retained.
Bay View was amalgamated with Napier in 1989. A separate bulk water supply from the newly constructed Tannery Road bore to Bay View was installed by the HB County Council in 1988 to replace the Esk river bore, and this remained the sole supply to Bay View until 1998, when a second main was constructed from Westshore. The reticulation in Bay View was constructed during the 1960's.
A pumping main from Taradale to Hyderabad Road with a diameter of 450mm was completed in 1995 for the bulk transfer of water from Taradale to the rest of Napier.