Water Meters | FAQs
This page contains answers to frequently asked questions relating to the installation of water meters.
General questions | Water charges | Cross-lease properties
Q: When do I start paying for water?
A: The new water charging method starts 1 July 2014. Until then, you will continue to pay for water through your rates.
Q: Why does my meter have a high reading on it when it's not being used to charge for water?
A: The meters have been ticking over since installation. However, it will be read at the start of the new charging system so you will only be charged for the water you use from I July, 2014.
Q: How do I read my meter?
A: Information on how to read your meter can be found on our website at how-to-read-a-water-meter and click on the Water Meter heading to view the information.
Q: There is water inside the meter box – do I have a leak?
A: Condensation does occur inside the plastic manifold box.
Q: Will Council fix leaks on my property?
A: No. Property owners are responsible for their own pipe work. The cost of water supply would go up dramatically if Council accepted this responsibility across the district. Council does offer free advice on how to find leaks and how to go about fixing them.
Q: I have a bore – how will this affect my water bill?
A: Everyone connected to the public water supply will pay a fixed supply charge, plus a charge for the water used. The less public treated water you use, the less you will pay.
Q: Does my landlord know about water meter installation?
A: The installation of water meters has been widely publicised, so your landlord probably knows about it. A property's occupants are informed when primary meters are being installed at the boundary on Council land. If it is a cross-lease or unit title property the ratepayer/landowner was notified for their written permission to install a check meter.
Q: Why are water meters needed now the River Recharge project is going ahead?
A: Our capital investment in water infrastructure is based on getting peak consumption down to 400 litres per person per day. Water meters are a critical factor in achieving that target.
The River Recharge with Groundwater scheme enables more river water to be taken from the Waikanae River during times of drought by 'recharging' the river with groundwater from an expanded Waikanae borefield. Part of the River Recharge resource consent requires a reduction in the District's peak water consumption to 490 litres per person per day. This includes Council's target of 400 litres per person per day plus a 'loss' allowance of 90 litres per person per day. Peak consumption currently ranges between 540 and 560 litres per person per day, but it is as high as 760 in some areas
Q: How will any taste/quality issues be addressed?
A: Council has an Aa water quality grading for its Waikanae Treatment Plant. Once the River Recharge scheme is fully operational there should be no need to supplement supply with ground water during low river flow. This will address taste concerns about the use of groundwater during drought.
Q: Once the water charging system changes, 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.
Q: Do I pay for water at the moment?
A: In 2013/14 you will be paying $357 annually for water as part of your rates. This portion will be removed from your rates from 1 July, 2014 and water will be charged for separately.
Q: How will water charging work?
A: On the recommendations of the Charging Regime Advisory Group (CRAG), Council adopted a charging formula where 50% of the total cost of water supply is covered by a fixed line charge, and the other 50% by how much water you use.
Q: What does this mean in practice – what will I have to pay?
A: At present, all residential properties pay the same amount for water. Under the new system, smaller households with little or no garden are expected to pay less for water than larger households or those with large gardens.
Q: Won't larger families be disadvantaged?
A: The Charging Regime Advisory Group (CRAG) believes this tariff structure is the most fair and equitable. The Council Rates Remission - Financial Hardship Policy (as outlined in the Long Term Plan) can help address affordability issues for large households.
Q: Is there any help available?
A: Council will make available a rates' rebate of up to $300 per rateable property for ratepayers/applicants who meet a specified criteria.
Q: How do landlords pass on water costs?
A: There is currently a Uniform Annual Charge for water in your rates. The future amount payable will depend on the volume of water used at the property. It is at the landlord's discretion how or if the water charges are forwarded to the tenant. If the property shares a private supply pipe and does not qualify for a Council check meter, the landlord could install a private check meter so the tenant's exact water use can be gauged.
Q: What is the difference between a 'primary meter' and a 'check meter'?
A: A 'primary' meter is a meter that measures the total amount of water going into a property. For cross lease properties 'check' meters are installed where practical and feasible where separately rated properties share a water supply. If each property gets a 'check' meter, the owners can figure out who used how much of the total amount of water used through the primary meter.
Q: What if I agree to have a check meter installed, but my cross lease neighbour doesn't?
A: The owner who agrees to a 'check' meter will only pay for water they use. The owners in the same cross lease or private ROW 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.