Water meters have been at Ohaupo since 1991 and Pirongia since 1997. Most of Waipa's rural, industrial and commercial users have also had water meters for years.
Around 11,000 more residential properties in Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Kihikihi will see meters installed during 2016-2017. But no water bills will be sent out until 2018. Bills will only arrive after two mock invoices have been sent showing how much water has been used – and advising what it would have cost.
Waipa's project delivery manager Lorraine Kendrick said mock bills helped people realise how much water they were using. On average, Waipa consumers use 250 litres of water per person, per day; higher than many other parts of New Zealand.
"At the moment, unless you have a water meter, you don't know what your consumption is," Kendrick said. "When a mock bill arrives, it shows people how much has been used and how much that water would cost once separate charging kicks in. That's why mock bills are helpful."
Kendrick said meters make the cost of water more transparent.
"If you're on a meter, you get a separate bill and only pay for what you use. The less you use, the less you pay. If you're not on a meter, the cost of water is included as part of your overall rates bill."
The $3.9 million contract to install meters was won by Allens United Earthworks and Drainage. Work will begin in August and be complete by June next year. Installation of the meters can be tracked via the council's website and letters will advise residents of any potential disruption.
Waipa District Council resolved to install water meters in 2012 to help defer the capital cost of water infrastructure. The decision was reinforced last year as part of the 10-Year Plan. Without meters, the council estimates it would be forced to spend an additional $8 million on treatment plant upgrades, sooner.
To find out more about Waipa water meters, go to www.waipadc.govt.nz/watermeters or request the brochure 'Waipa water' from any council office.
Media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of council) 027 507 7599