Water Supply FAQs
Water charges | Water meters | Cross lease properties | Water leaks | Water conservation | New water service | No water | Low water pressure | Water taste and odour | Supply on borewater | Installing a private water bore
Q: What is the current water charge?
A: Go to the water rates page for latest charges for water.
Q: Can I calculate how much water I'm using and what it would cost?
A: Yes you can take readings of your water meter yourself, and then calculate how much an amount of water would cost. Go to estimating you water costs.
Q: Is there a remission available for water charges?
A: Yes, a water rates remission for households who have more than three dependents (18 years or younger) living at their property. Go to water rates remissions for criteria and application process.
Council also offers rates remission for those experiencing financial hardship through unexpected or on going costs. The rates remission page provides more detail on the extreme financial hardship rates remission.
Q: Should I get a final water reading if I sell my house?
A: A final reading is required when a property is sold. Property settlements require a final water invoice to be included. Your solicitor will arrange this with Council as part of the property settlement. The costs of the final read can be found here.
Q: Why was the new charging scheme via water meters introduced?
A: Because with a growing population in the district, our demand for water is increasing. Water is a limited resource, so we had to find a way to encourage people to reduce their water use. The parts of New Zealand that have introduced water meters have had a 25% reduction in water use on average. Charging people for the amount of water they use is a fairer system, as those who use more water pay more than those who use less.
Q: Water charges are no longer included in general rates. Are they still a rate?
A: Yes, the cost of water is now charged as a separate rate from general rates, but it is still a targeted rate and covered by the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.
Q: Why do ratepayers in Otaki and Paekakariki have water meters when they aren't supplied by Waikanae River water like the rest of the district?
A: Otaki and Paekakariki residents are supplied with water from bores, whereas residents from Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati are supplied from Waikanae River. Bore water has to be treated and piped to households/businesses in the same way river water does, processes which are expensive and getting dearer, so all ratepayers will be charged for water in the same way.
There are strict legal limits to how much water can be taken from bores, so residents on bore water need to look at ways to conserve water just like residents on river water do. Saving water will also keep down the cost of water production, maintaining and upgrading the water network.
Q: I have a private bore – how will this affect my water bill?
A: Everyone connected to the town water supply will pay a fixed charge, plus a charge for how much water is used. The less water you use from town supply, the less you will pay.
Q: Besides charging for water, what else is in place to ensure a long-term water solution for Kāpiti?
A: Water charging via water meters is just one part of our long-term water solution. Other parts include:
River recharge scheme: when river levels are low, Waikanae River will be topped up with groundwater below the treatment plant so more water can be taken from the river (ensuring bore water doesn't enter our water supply during dry times).
Treatment plant upgrade: replacement of ageing equipment and pipes, plus upgrading treatment processes is now completed.
Water conservation: such as reducing water loss and offering a targeted rate to install rainwater tanks or greywater systems (Council pays for the systems to be installed and owner pays Council back through their rates).
Q: How do I read my water meter?
A: Information on how to read your meter can be found on our website here.
Q: Do water meters result in people using less water?
A: Water meters do encourage people to conserve water. They have led to a 25% reduction in water use throughout the district since installation, much like other areas of the country which have introduced them.
Q: What is the difference between a 'primary meter' and a 'check meter'?
A: A 'primary' meter is the meter at the Council’s point of supply, generally at the street, which measures the total amount of water going into the cross leased property or down the common private supply pipe of a right of way (ROW).
Council offered to install ‘check meters’ for cross leased properties or households off a ROW to record individual household use.
If each property gets a 'check' meter, the owners can determine who used how much of the total amount of water used through the primary meter. If the primary meter identifies a leak, the check meters can help identify if the leak is on the common private supply pipe or within a private property.
Q: What if I have a check meter but my cross lease neighbour doesn't?
A: The owner who has a 'check' meter will only pay for water they use, as measured by their check meter. The owners in the same cross lease or private right-of-way who doesn't agree to a 'check' meter will be charged an equal share of the remaining water volume as measured through the primary meter. This can include any leaks on the common supply pipe.
Q: My property does not have a check meter, can I still get one?
A: Yes, Council offers to install a check meter, at your cost, provided:
- Council obtains written consent from property owner
- The owner can identify a suitable location on their private supply pipe to install the check meter (such as an existing toby)
- The check meter is located in a place outside buildings with 24/7 access
- The check meter meter installation is economical, practical and feasible
If you would like to apply for a check meter, go to Council's contact page.
Q: Can I check for leaks myself?
A: You can check for leaks yourself at any time. Turn off all your taps and water appliances, then look at your water meter. If the arrow on the dial is still moving, you probably have a leak somewhere on your property. For more on detecting leaks, getting them fixed and how to get help, go to checking for water leaks
Q: There is water inside my meter box – do I have a leak?
A: Condensation does occur inside the plastic manifold box. This does not necessarily mean there is a leak, but there may be a leak if water at the bottom of the box is over a centimetre and its moving. Ring Council on 0800 486 486 if concerned.
Q: Is there any assistance for the cost of water being lost via a leak at my property?
A: Ratepayers who are concerned about this can apply to Council to have the estimated cost of water lost from the leak taken off their first invoice and only be charged for average water use for a similarly-sized household/business. They will need to provide evidence the leak has been fixed. show they have taken steps to fix the leak.
Leaks will need to be fixed before the next invoice is sent. This is to encourage leaks being repaired promptly and prevent water being wasted.
Q: Is there any financial assistance available for the cost of fixing leaks?
A: If you qualify for a government rates rebate or a water rates remission, you may also qualify for funding assistance for the cost of getting a leak fixed.
Q: Does Council provide advice on leaks?
A: Yes. Council offers free advice on how to find leaks and how to go about fixing them. Phone 0800 486 486.
Q: What Water Conservation services does Council offer?
A: Council provides:
- Free advice on fixing leaks and saving water. The Water Conservation Advice page provides more detail.
- Expert advice on creating outdoor spaces that use water efficiently. The Green Gardener page provides more detail.
- A targeted rate (Council pays for the work and you pay Council back through your rates over ten years) for installing a new rainwater tank, rejuvenating an old tank or installing a greywater system. Explore the Water Retrofit Service page for more detail on how the service can work for you.
Q: How do I get a new water connection/alteration to my existing water service.
A: Complete a Water Supply Connection form (available from Council service centres) and submit to us for processing.
Q: How much will it cost for a new water connection/alteration?
A: There is no application fee to have your application form assessed.
Costs vary from site to site and are estimated on a case by case basis. Cost estimates are provided to the applicant if the new connection is approved. Only actual installation costs are charged to the applicant when the installation work is completed.
Q: When would an alteration or disconnection of the water supply be needed?
A: Application to disconnect existing water supply would be needed if a building was to be demolished or for properties requiring a change in water allocation/location of existing water connection.
Q: What do I do if I have no water supply to my house?
A: If there is water to your outside hose tap, contact a plumber to get water supplied to your house. If not, contact the Council on 0800 486 486.
Q: Is the property cross-leased i.e. shares the toby with another house?
A: In many instances, one neighbour has turned the water off to carry out repairs and not informed the other homeowner.
If there is no apparent reason for lack of water, contact the Council immediately on 0800 486 486.
Q: What do I do if my water pressure is low?
A: If you have a supply tank on your roof, contact a plumber.
If you are on mains pressure, contact Council on 0800 486 486. It is helpful to Council staff if you can provide a time period for the drop in water pressure.
Q: My water tastes different, is it safe to drink?
A: Tap water supplied by the Kāpiti Coast District Council is safe to drink. Operational procedures at our water treatment plants are specifically designed to address potential contamination risks and produce safe drinking water, and we regularly check the quality of the water that flows to our taps to confirm this. While our drinking water is safe to drink, you may sometimes notice changes in its taste and smell. Taste and smell can be affected by many factors, including temperature, time in pipes, river temperature and algae levels, and people’s plumbing materials, but this does not mean it is unsafe to drink.
Q: Ok, so why does my water taste earthy?
A: When river levels are low and temperatures are high, the water taken from the river can contain more naturally occurring organic material like algae and bacteria that can generate taste and odour. Some algae can also produce toxins so we dose the water with activated carbon to remove this and make it safe to drink. Carbon dosing also helps to reduce the earthy taste and smell of other organic material, but there can still be some leftover taste and/or smell. Some people can taste this residual with as little concentration as one part per billion. Rest assured, however, that this is not harmful.
Q: Is that chlorine I can smell/taste?
A: We use UV light and chlorine to kill harmful bacteria and viruses at the water treatment plants. Once the water leaves the treatment plant our drinking water retains a small amount of chlorine to protect it from more germs on the journey to your tap – it’s like a bodyguard for the water while it’s in transit. As the chlorine continues to disinfect the water in the water supply network, the process can create compounds that have that “chlorine” taste and/or odour. Chlorine concentrations can also vary slightly throughout the day as demand for water increases and it travels quicker through the networks or with temperature changes. The levels of chlorine found in drinking water are not harmful, however, some are more sensitive to this taste and smell, while others don’t notice it.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) says this residual chlorine shouldn’t be more than five milligrams per litre of water (mg/l). We continuously monitor and manage the chlorine levels leaving the plant and typically set a target range of 0.7mg/l to 1.1mg/l, well below the MoH’s maximum level.
Q: Hmm, I can taste something else a bit unusual?
A: Customers occasionally contact us to report that the water from their tap tastes metallic, bitter, rubbery, plastic, or even mildly antiseptic. The Ministry of Health recommends flushing a mug of water from your tap each morning before use, as this is often the result of water dissolving and absorbing small amounts of substances from your plumbing. For example:
- metallic or bitter tastes can come from copper, iron or galvanised pipes
- plastic tastes from plastic pipes, or kettles and jugs
- rubbery or antiseptic tastes from tap washers or hoses connecting dishwashers and washing machines to the mains water supply
To find out if copper, iron or galvanised pipes are the issue, fill a pot with water and draw fresh water through the pipe, then see if it tastes different. Use the water in the pot to water a plant – it doesn’t need to be wasted!
To find out if the kettle or jug is the issue, try making a hot drink with water boiled in a saucepan and compare the taste with one made from the kettle or jug.
To find out if a dishwasher or washing machine hose is the issue, isolate the hose and try the water again. If this solves the problem, fit a non-return valve on the end of the hose where it connects to the pipework.
*Occasionally glasses or cups can also have residual traces of detergents from the dishwasher on them. Try rinsing with tap water and see if the taste persists. If it does, consider adjusting the amount of detergent used in the dishwasher.
Q: Ok, so it’s safe, but what else can I do improve the taste?
A: We suggest you try flushing your property. This process moves all the water that has been sitting inside your pipes and replaces it with the fresh water from the main in your street.
Stage one of best practice flushing involves:
- running your outside taps for at least ten minutes at full volume – the increased velocity will flush the pipe from the main to your house;
- Turn off your outside taps and check the water for clarity and taste;
- If you’re happy with the water entering your property, then proceed to stage two.
Stage 2 starts with the cold water tap furthest from your kitchen tap:
- turn on it on for around a minute then turn off and move to the next furthest cold water tap and repeat;
- Continue this process, including the bath, shower, hand basin, toilets, and laundry etc., and finish with the cold watertap in your kitchen.
Finally, you could also try chilling your tap water in the fridge before drinking it – it just tastes better!
Q: How will I know if we are on borewater?
A: Council will now use borewater to recharge the river during low river flows. It is unlikely Council will supply treated borewater to households. However if Council does supply treated borewater, it will advertise on the radio when switching over to borewater from bores.
It takes 1–2 days before borewater gets through treatment, storage and pipelines to homes.
There is a page on this website that describes the various water supplies in the District and the source of each supply. Visit: www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/water-use.
Q: How do I install a new groundwater bore on my property?
A: You will need to get resource consent from Greater Wellington Regional Council first. View information about the Resource Consent process here.
Contractors who install private groundwater bores can be found in the Yellow Pages.