Water meter FAQs

1. In a rented property, who will be sent the water meter bill/invoice?

No water bills/invoices will be sent out until 2018. Bills/invoices  will only arrive after two mock invoices have been sent showing how much water has been used – and advising what it would have cost.

All invoices from water meters will be sent to the property owner, just as rates invoices are. Those invoices are then usually sent on, by landlords, to the tenants for payment. This is something that should be discussed between parties, before a tenancy begins.

Water invoices can only be sent directly to occupiers (rather than property owners) if the lease is for at least 10 years and if the lease is registered on the Certificate of Title.

Either landlords or tenants are able to ring the Council for a meter reading at the start and end of a tenancy. For more specific information on this issue, call the Council on 0800 WAIPA DC.  You can also refer to the Local Government Rating Act 2002, section 61 (1). 

2. How much will water cost? 

That depends on how much water individual households or businesses use.  If you use less water, you pay less. If you use more water, you pay more.

3. What if my water bill is high? 

  • Test for water leaks
    It is the property owner's responsibility to repair leaks on their property and pay for the cost of repair. All leaks should be repaired as soon as possible because the less water you use, the less you pay for. Council does not offer a leak investigation or repair service for private properties. We suggest you contact your plumber for ways to locate and fix leaks on your property.
  • Test meter accuracy
    If you believe your water meter is not providing an accurate reading the Council can test your meter or restrictor. If the test finds your meter is not accurate, you will not be charged for the test. But if the test finds that your meter is accurate, then you will be required to pay the associated fee as outlined in Council's Fees and Charges Schedule.
  • Actively reduce your household water use
    On average, non-metered residential customers use 250 litres of water per person per day. Metered residential customers use around 190 litres of water per person per day..If you are using more than this, there are things you can do. Head to www.smartwater.org.nz to find out how to cut down how much water you are using, each and every day!

4. What is a water bill made up of?

There are two parts to a water meter bill; a fixed charge which is the same for everyone and helps pay for infrastructure (a bit like an electricity line charge) and a variable charge for the amount of water actually used. The fixed charge will be the same for everyone. The variable charge will depend on how much water is used.

5. Is the Council also fixing water leaks?

Yes, we regularly check our network of pipes around the district for leaks and run leak detection programmes for hard-to-find leaks. We also fix any leaks reported to us by people in the community. 

Installing water meters means we can monitor how much water individual households or businesses use. If the amount of water being used is far in excess of what it should be, we already contact our metered customers and let them know. Often the customer finds a leak on their property which they can then repair.

Given the age of some houses in Waipa,  we suspect there are a number of leaks on private properties that property owners are unaware of. These will become obvious once a meter is installed and in most cases, will prompt property owners to fix the leaks and save on water costs. ​

'Complex’ properties 

Waipa District Council is currently installing water meters into those parts of the district that do not already have them. (There have been water meters in Ohaupo since at least 1991 and part of Pirongia since 1997. The majority of rural, industrial and commercial water users in Waipa are already metered.)

Because of technical issues some ‘complex properties’ (see definition below) are yet to have their meters installed.  

1. What is a ‘complex property’?

Complex properties are:

  • properties where there is not a single Council water supply point per property. Instead the water supply point is shared with neighbours.
  • properties where Council does not own, or have legal access to, the connecting pipe from the Council water supply point to each property.

Typical examples of complex properties are older cross-leases and blocks of interconnected flats/units.

2. Are all cross-lease or interconnected flats/units considered ‘complex properties’?

No. Many cross-lease properties or flats/units do have their own dedicated water supply point; they do not share a water supply with their neighbours and therefore did not receive a letter.

Those that don’t have their own water supply point are usually older properties, at least 10-15 years old. 

3. How many complex properties are there in the Waipa district?

About 1,000 (out of around 15,500 properties in total). Council rules mean that houses, flats or units (including cross-leased properties) can no longer be built with privately-shared water supply points.  

4. How does Council want to meter complex properties? 

It is not always technically or legally possible to put a single water meter on every complex property. Council are currently working through these properties on an individual basis. A decision on how to meter complex properties will be made by elected Councillors in late 2018.

5. Why are complex properties being treated differently?  

Because they are fundamentally different to other properties in the district. Complex properties share a single Council water supply; the vast majority of Waipa properties do not – they each have their own water supply.

6. Is putting in one main meter, and splitting the cost equally between neighbours (known as a shared meter) the best solution?

It is one option being considered. Because of legal and technical issues, and because neighbours will not always agree on what action to take, installing one main meter and splitting costs is the best and in many instances, the only way to deal with a historical issue. 

Council would far prefer there be one water meter per property and development specifications now reflect that.

7. Why is it not possible to install dedicated meters on every complex property?

In some instances, it may be possible. It will depend on a number of factors, including the willingness of property owners to potentially pay for changes to private plumbing. Those issues are being worked through on a property-by-property basis.

8. Would any property owners on a shared meter get their own, dedicated water bill?

Yes. Each property owner would receive their own, separate water bill. It would show the total amount of water used (as measured by the main meter) and then show each household’s portion of the water, and the amount to be paid.  Each household on a shared meter would pay the same amount.

No householder would be responsible for payment of their neighbours’ water bill.

9. What would happen if a neighbour didn’t pay their water bill?  

If a neighbour did not pay their water bill, it would not affect any other household on a shared connection. Water would continue to be supplied as normal. The non-payment would be an issue  to be resolved privately between the non-paying property owner and Council.

10. Will water meter bills be sent to landlords or tenants?

Water bills will be sent to the property owner, just like rates bills. Water bills are usually sent on, by landlords, to the tenants for payment. This is something that should be discussed between parties, before a tenancy begins.

Water bills can only be sent directly to tenants if the lease is for at least 10 years and if the lease is registered on the Certificate of Title. Either landlords or tenants can ring the Council for a meter reading at the start and end of a tenancy.  

11. When will this come into effect?

Council is currently installing water meters throughout the district to these properties which do not already have them. This should be complete by the middle of 2017. But there will be no water bills until 2018.

Before any water bills go out, Council will be issuing at least two mock (not for payment) water bills so householders can understand what future water bills for their property might look like. This will give households the opportunity to introduce water saving measures if they choose to do so. Council will be actively involved in a programme to help people to save water.

12. Has anybody indicated they want to have their own meter installed, and pick up any cost of private plumbing?

Yes. Some property owners are considering this option. 

13. How should people contact Council to discuss this issue?

By calling Council on 0800 WAIPADC (0800 924 723) or emailing water.meters@waipadc.govt.nz​.

Page reviewed: 06 Oct 2017 1:45pm