Why make water meters compulsory?
We have to use less water so there’s enough left in our rivers to keep them healthy as our population grows. They’re proven to cut use where they are installed.
What if someone doesn’t want to have a water meter on their property?
All properties need to be metered so everyone can track how much they’re using. The meters would also indicate if there’s a leak or a backflow problem that needs fixing.
Will this change how we pay for water?
Eventually every home will be charged for the amount of water they use rather than the flat yearly charge they pay now. Households would be given time to track and cut their water use before metered charging begins.
How much more will people pay?
That would depend entirely on how much they use. The average user would likely pay about the same as now.
So will households be charged differently according to where their water comes from (eg. Ōākura’s water comes from a bore and New Plymouth’s from rivers)?
No, we’d have a standard charge per unit used across the district.
How will you help vulnerable people like pensioners who get hammered with pipe repair bills?
We already have plans to help people who genuinely struggle with these sort of costs and we’re looking at ways we can boost them.
Water’s a human right – it should be free.
We don’t charge for the water itself, we only cover the cost of treating it to make it safe to drink and paying for the pipes in the ground to deliver it to your homes.
So will households be cut off if they can’t pay their water bills?
No it is against the law to cut off water supplies for this reason. We’d work with anyone who was in difficulty to arrange a payment plan.
So can landlords pass on water bills to their tenants?
Yes, they should be able to ask the tenants to pay for what they use, much like electricity and gas bills.
What about people with swimming pools?
Properties with swimming pools must already be on a water meter, as required under our bylaw.
Will people have to pay to have these meters installed?
No, NPDC would cover the cost.
How much will it cost the Council?
We’re looking at about $18 million to put a water meter in every home. Savings would come from delaying other high-cost infrastructure projects due to lower demand.
Aren’t we already saving water through the summer water restrictions?
Yes, but we’re still in the top-third of New Zealand cities for water use, and many European countries have a daily average use that is half of ours. Kiwi cities with some of the lowest daily averages also have water meters.
Why don’t you build more reservoirs?
We’ve recently added two new reservoirs, but we all pay for these and they cost money to maintain too. We can’t keep on building reservoirs if we don’t look at how much we use and do more to save water.
Why don’t we search for an additional water source?
We are, but the Resource Management Act aims to stop overconsumption of natural resources like water. If we applied for a consent to take water from a new source, we'd be more likely to
succeed if we showed we are good managers of the water we’re already using.
What about NPDC fixing leaks from its own pipes?
This work is always ongoing.
How long will it take to install the meters?
We reckon about two years.
Will the water restrictions continue over summer?
Yes but if we start to save water, the restrictions may be reviewed.
How come residents with pools can fill their pools when there are restrictions?
Pool owners should already be on a meter so they’ll be paying for the water they use but we do ask them to consider whether they need to fill their pools.