A manager at the Hawke's Bay Regional Council says he is expecting further breaches of water restrictions this summer as farmers get to grips with a new system of water metering.
Farmers have begun using water meters in many farms for the first time to better manage water use.
At least 18 irrigators exceeded their water usage consents in December last year, at a time when the region was pressured by low river and reservoir levels.
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council's resource says further violations are to be expected as many farmers experiment with the new meters.
However, Iain Maxwell says irrigators need to learn to manage their meters properly as water is a common good and farmers continuing to breach their consents may be prosecuted.