Water Meters

Water meter thumbnail.jpg

How the water meter system works | Te mahi a te pūnaha inewai

Water meters help detect leaks draining our water supply. From March 2024, we are installing new digital water meters across the district so we can find and remedy leaks in our network and reduce water treatment costs.

Some properties, such as commercial and industrial premises, properties with pools, educational and health facilities, retirement villages and properties with agricultural use and all properties in Foxton Beach already have water meters. These analogue water meters will be replaced with the new digital water meters being installed across Horowhenua so leaks can be detected faster and easier.

The new meters also make it easier for you to track your water consumption and see how small changes can make a big difference to saving water.

Water consumption charges

If you live in Levin, Ōhau, Foxton, Shannon or Tokomaru and you have a water meter, your ordinary Council rates cover the cost of 91,000 litres of water per quarter (that’s approximately 1,000 litres a day). As long as you don’t use more than your quarterly allowance, you won’t incur any extra water usage charges. The 91,000 litre allowance can’t be increased and doesn’t accrue, so you can’t carry over any unused part of it to the next quarter.

If you live in Foxton Beach, you’ll be charged at different rates per 1,000 litres depending on how much water you use, according to a three-tier system: First 50,000 litres; 51,000 to 100,000 litres; and over 101,000 litres.

Having a water meter means you’ll pay for some or all of your water on a ‘user pays’ basis.

There is an amnesty period if a leak is found on your property and has caused you to have used more than your water allocation. You can apply within three months of your water meter being installed for a 100% remission on your excess water usage bill if it’s caused by a leak, upon proof of repair.

Outside of this three month amnesty, you can apply for up to a 50% remission on the excess usage charges incurred because of the leak upon proof of repair. 

We will consult with our community before any changes are made to our water billing system.

Billing cycles

We'll read your meter every three months. Your billing cycle will depend on where you live - you can check your billing cycle below.

Levin, Foxton & Ōhau

Billing Quarters  Meter Reading & Invoicing Month  Payment Due Date 
July - September September  25 October
October - December December 25 January
January - March March 25 April
April - June June 25 July

Whirokino & Foxton Beach (Route 1-5)

Billing Quarters  Meter Reading & Invoicing Month  Payment Due Date 
June - August August 25 September
September - November November 15 January
December - February February 25 March
March - May May 25 June

Tokomaru, Shannon & Foxton Beach (Route 6-10)

Billing Quarters  Meter Reading & Invoicing Month  Payment Due Date 
May - July July  25 August
August - October October 25 November
November - January January 25 February
February - April April 25 May

Look out for leaks! | Kia mataara, kei papī te wai!

As well as wasting a precious resource, a water leak on your property could mean a higher water bill and could even cause aesthetic or structural damage to your home.

Who is responsible for leaks?

By law, it’s your responsibility to maintain your plumbing on your property and avoid wasting water. You can do this by monitoring your property for leaks and getting them fixed if you find any.

It’s Council’s responsibility to maintain the water network and supply up to the Council-owned water toby that supplies your property. If you see or suspect a leak outside your property, please contact us immediately.

Will Council notify me if I have a leak?

We’ll send you a letter if we detect unusually high water usage that could indicate a leak.

If your property has an existing analogue water meter, we can only detect unusually high usage on your third reading and after. This is because our system works by identifying outliers (readings higher than your usual usage). For this reason, our system doesn’t always pick up consistently high usage if you’ve had a leak since your meter was installed.

We read your water meter every three months, so you could have a leak for some time before we can detect it and notify you. Therefore, it’s important to check your own property for leaks.

New digital water meters are replacing the old analogue ones and will be able to detect leaks almost immediately. 

What are my options if I unexpectedly get a big water bill because of a leak?

There is an amnesty period if a leak is found on your property and has caused you to have used more than your water allocation. You can apply within three months of your water meter being installed for a 100% remission on your excess water usage bill if it’s caused by a leak, upon proof of repair.

Outside of this three month amnesty, you can apply for up to a 50% remission on the excess usage charges incurred because of the leak. You’ll need to provide proof the leak has been fixed, such as confirmation from your plumber or two photos of your meter reading taken one week apart.

If you're facing hardship, we can also work with you on a case-by-case basis to help you.

How to check your property for water leaks | Te tirotiro mēnā e papī ana te wai i tō kāinga

Identifying water leaks at your property is a simple task that can greatly benefit you and the community.

The five-minute test

Use this simple five-minute test:

  1. Check all taps are turned off and water-using appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, etc) are not operating.
  2. Locate the blue water meter lid on your boundary, lift it up and write down the time and reading on the meter inside.
  3. Sit down and relax for five minutes.
  4. Re-read your water meter, taking note of the reading and time again. If the numbers have changed then you might have a water leak and you may want to contact a plumber. If you are unsure, Council’s water services staff can come and double-check it for you.

In addition, look out for:

  • Wet areas or unexplained patches of green along the route from your toby to where the water pipe enters your house.
  • Obvious leaks from fittings and connections.
  • Dripping taps.
  • Leaky toilet cisterns – hissing, trickling or running sounds from the cistern may indicate a leak.

Watch our video

Water saving tips | He whakaaro mō te penapena i te wai 

In Aotearoa New Zealand we're surrounded by water, so it's easy to think of it as a free resource - one that will never run out. But that isn't entirely the case.

There's only a certain amount of water in our rivers, streams and dams, and sometimes (especially in summer) demand is greater than supply. 

Water conservation starts at home

Water conservation starts at home, where our daily use of tapware, showerheads, dishwashers and toilets all add up to some big numbers.

Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce your water usage through using our helpful water saving tips throughout your home.

Frequently asked questions

We've put together some common questions we receive from our community about water and the corresponding answers. If you can't find the answer you're looking for please phone 06 366 0999 or email enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz

The district wide installation of Sensus 640MC smart water meters was approved through the Long Term Plan 2021-2041 Amendment and forms part of the Water Conservation Plan. The installation of analogue meters is not an approved option. 

Water Supply Meter Charges for Levin, Foxton, Shannon, Tokomaru & Ōhau

The water charges for properties with town water supply, excluding Foxton Beach, are the same for all types of properties where a water meter is in place.

Some rural properties have restricted supplies where a fixed amount of water is supplied at a continuous rate. Some of these properties are metered and are charged for water use on the same basis as any other metered connection. Council is progressively extending the coverage of meters throughout the supply area.

Each property, whether metered or not, pays an annual amount for the water supply through the property rates. This amount is given in the Annual Plan.

Metered properties are entitled to receive an "allowance" of 91m3 (91,000 litres) per quarter during each three (3) month charging period at no cost. The balance of any water use beyond the allowance is charged for at a rate per cubic meter (m3) given in the Annual Plan.

Foxton Beach Properties Only

Foxton Beach is universally metered, with Council charging for all water use at the property, as recorded by the water meter at the property boundary. The water meters are read every three months, with the first 50m³ charged out at a low rate given in the annual plan.  Up to 100m³ the charge out rate is a medium rate. Any water use greater than 100m³ is charged at a higher rate. These charges are all included in the Annual Plan.

There is quarterly meter charge (even if the property is not connected).

Leaks on Private Property

If a water leak is on private property then it is the owner’s responsibility to repair. The owner needs to contact a plumber to undertake repairs as soon as possible. Owners must act to avoid water wastage. If the owner fails to action repair within a timely manner, Council may take further steps to ensure compliance. If a member of the public identifies a water leak on private property the Council will make contact with the owner as soon as possible.

Leaks on the Road Reserve/Berm

If the leak is at the toby (blue box or square metal box with hinged lid in the ground) and the road is not privately owned, then Council will undertake repairs.

If the road is private then the owner is responsible for these repairs/ replacements refer above. The owner can request Council to arrange Councils Contractor to undertake these repairs, however all costs will being on charged to the owner.

The only exception to this is, if the toby is located at the Council road frontage, then HDC may attend to the repair as necessary.

Contact the Customer Services team on (06) 366 0999 for further information.

Gushing Water, High Volumes?

Contact the Customer Services Team and report immediately. Council will contact their Contractor to urgently attend.

Fast flowing water/trickling water?

This could be a leaking lateral, contact the Customer Services Team to investigate urgently.

Noticed coloured dots by your toby? They're used by our field inspectors for the water meters installation.
Here's what they mean:

Green: A new smart meter has been installed and no further work is required.
Orange: The property has an existing meter and needs maintenance before a new smart meter can be installed.
Red: The property does not have an existing meter and needs maintenance before a new smart meter can be installed.
Yellow: Toby box inspection has confirmed a new smart meter can be installed here or maintenance has been completed and is now ready for new meter to be installed.

A red stripe on road in-line with assumed location means a field inspector was unable to locate the connection.

 

This code is for the operating system the meter uses and is part of the normal functioning on the water meter.

 

Water Supply Meter Charges for Levin, Foxton, Shannon, Tokomaru & Ōhau

The water charges for properties with town water supply, excluding Foxton Beach, are the same for all types of properties where a water meter is in place.

Some rural properties have restricted supplies where a fixed amount of water is supplied at a continuous rate. Some of these properties are metered and are charged for water use on the same basis as any other metered connection. Council is progressively extending the coverage of meters throughout the supply area.

Each property, whether metered or not, pays an annual amount for the water supply through the property rates. This amount is given in the Annual Plan.

Metered properties are entitled to receive an "allowance" of 91m3 (91,000 litres) per quarter during each three (3) month charging period at no cost. The balance of any water use beyond the allowance is charged for at a rate per cubic meter (m3) given in the Annual Plan.

Foxton Beach Properties Only

Foxton Beach is universally metered, with Council charging for all water use at the property, as recorded by the water meter at the property boundary. The water meters are read every three months, with the first 50m³ charged out at a low rate given in the annual plan.  Up to 100m³ the charge out rate is a medium rate. Any water use greater than 100m³ is charged at a higher rate. These charges are all included in the Annual Plan.

There is quarterly meter charge (even if the property is not connected).

Water meters can identify leaks so we can locate and remedy them. Water metering encourages people to be more aware of their water use habits and also prompts people to fix water leaks on their properties.

 

When we install a water meter on your property, we’ll leave a notice in your letterbox to alert you to the new meter and if we suspect there may be a leak on your property. You’ll also be notified of the meter installation with a letter to the same address where the rates invoice is sent.

If you didn’t receive your notice and were unaware your property was being metered until your first bill, please contact our Customer Services team and we’ll work with you on a case-by-case basis to find a solution.

If a water leak is on private property then it is the owner's responsibility to repair. The owner needs to contact a plumber to undertake repairs.

Only properties connected to the town supply will have a water meter installed.

If you have an analogue water meter, we read your water meter every three months, so a leak can exist for some time before we can detect it and notify you. Therefore, it’s important to check your own property for leaks.

If your property has a water meter installed, we’ll notify you in a letter sent out with your water bill if we detect unusually high water usage that could indicate a leak. However, we can only detect unusually high usage on your third reading and after. This is because our system works by identifying outliers (readings higher than your usual usage). For this reason, our system doesn’t always pick up consistently high usage if you’ve had a leak since your meter was installed – we’re working on a solution for this to improve our services. 

We are replacing analogue water meters with new digital ones so we are able to detect leaks faster.  We will leave a letter in the mailbox of properties where leaks are detected.

 

You will be charged a fixed water charge for every separately used or inhabited part of a rating unit (SUIP) you have on your property. Refer to our Water Consumption Rates page for metered water charges.

 

Please contact a Council Customer Service Representative on (06) 366 0999 or email us enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz. Council will investigate and taken action as necessary.

No, the water allowance only applies per quarter.

Can I increase my quarterly water allowance?

Generally no. The quarterly allowance of water is per water connection to a property.

The only time a customer would receive more than the allocated allowance is if they have more than one water connection, and have been charged the appropriate water levies on their rates.

You can apply for up to a 50% rebate on the charges incurred because of the leak. To qualify, you’ll need to provide proof the leak has been fixed, such as confirmation from your plumber or two photos of your meter reading taken one week apart.

If you are facing hardship, we can also work with you on a case-by-case basis to help you. Please contact our Customer Services team on 06 366 0999.