Water meters

Water is a precious resource, and providing clean, safe drinking water to our rate payers is a priority for our Council.

Each household connected to the water supply pays an amount of their rates specifically for Serviced Water and is given an allocation of 350m3 – or 350,000 litres – of water per connection annually. All users, household or commercial, pay the same rate and get the same annual allocation.

It is a high allowance and it is highly unusual for a household in the region to use more than that.

Every year in June we do a water meter read of all three towns and Pirinoa. There are more than 4500 connections and we are aided by volunteers who do it to raise funds for community or sports groups.

The meters provide us with important data, helping us reduce our overall consumption by identifying leaks and incentivising their repair.

Property owners are responsible for making their water meters easily visible to our readers. The meters are often covered with vegetation and hard to see. They are located with the toby, generally in the street, but in some cases, they are on private property. We ask that you find out where your meter is, ensure it is visible and easy to access and – if necessary – secure your dog.

If you are unsure where your toby is, the Local Maps function on our website can help you find out where your water meter is (click on the “water” tile and zoom in on your town – the toby is a yellow dot). It’s good to know this, in case you need to turn off the water to your house for any reason.

Excess water usage

It’s estimated that about 40 per cent of our water is lost in leaks. Council is responsible for leaks on public property but many of these leaks are on private property and the onus is on the land owner.

Sometimes a leak is obvious, other times it is not visible. This page on leaks gives tips on what to look for. Other times, an excess water bill is the first sign you might have a leak.

If you have been invoiced for excess water use, unless you are aware of a reason for a higher consumption (such as running a commercial operation), you may have a leak on your property.

However, if there is a leak on a property which results in excess use of water and the homeowner has it repaired, the Council operates a leak write-off policy.

What is the policy if I have a leak?

The full waiver policy can be found on our website, but the criteria for a waiver on an excess water charge is:

  • Current owners will be allowed one write-off under this policy per financial year.
  • The write-off will only apply where the leak identified is of such magnitude that usage will exceed the allowance set in any year. A slowly dripping tap is unlikely to result in excess usage.
  • A copy of the invoice for repair is supplied. Again, the nature of the repair must indicate that excess usage is likely.
  • Prompt action on notices of excess usage. Please act promptly when you get this notice, as if it is not acted on within four weeks, then this policy will not apply.
  • A write-off will be available if there is a Council error, or the meter reading shows inaccurate usage.
  • If a property changes ownership during the year, usage for the rest of that year will start from nil from the time of change of ownership.
  • If a write-off is agreed but the user has a history of exceeding their water allowance, an estimated usage (based on historical usage) amount will be calculated and invoiced.

If you identify that you have a water leak and you have it repaired in a timely manner, you may qualify for a waiver as above.

Waiver applications will only be considered for the rating year applicable for the current reading.

How to apply for a water waiver

To apply for a water waiver, contact the Water team as soon as you become aware of the leak, even if you haven’t repaired it yet.

When it is repaired, we will require a statement outlining:

  • the situation (that there was a leak on the property)
  • what steps were taken to identify and repair it
  • and a declaration that the leak is now fixed.

Attach any supporting documents, such as photographs or a plumber’s invoice clearly showing what has been repaired. If you made the repair yourself, it is important that your statement is detailed and clear as to what was done and when.

We will then write up a waiver application and submit it for consideration on your behalf. We will let you know if/when the waiver has been approved, and the amount that will be waived.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Water team on water@swdc.govt.nz or 06-306 9611 Ext 874.

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