Water Meters

Image of an installed Horowhenua District Council water meter.

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

There are several reasons you could have a water meter installed on your property. All extraordinary users are metered, which includes commercial and industrial premises, properties with pools, educational and health facilities, retirement villages and properties with agricultural use. Some properties are metered because we’ve identified a possible leak on the property during a leak survey. In Foxton Beach all properties are metered.

Water consumption charges

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

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 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 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.

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

You can apply for up to a 50% rebate on the 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 

We've put together some helpful tips on how to save water. 

In the house:

Icon for turning off the tap.     Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving.
     
Icon for checking for leaks.     Check your toilet cistern, taps and pipes for leaks or overflow. 
     
Icon for full loads.     Only do full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
     
Icon for shorter showers.     Take shorter showers, and while the water is heating up fill a bucket for the garden.
     
Icon for using a mop or sponge.     Use a bucket of water and a mop/sponge instead of a hose for outdoor cleaning jobs.
     
Icon for using a bowl.     Use a bowl or plug in the sink when washing vegetables or doing dishes.
     

In the garden:

Icon for watering gardens early.     Water your garden early in the morning or later in the evening to maximise absorption to the plants and reduce water loss to evaporation.
     
Icon for using a sprinkler.     If you use a sprinkler or drip lines in your garden, set a timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
     
Icon for using mulch.     Use mulch – good quality mulch can reduce water lost to evaporation by 70%.
     
Icon for watering the lawn.     Water your lawn only if it really needs it. To test this, step on the grass. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need watering. If it stays flat, it does.

 

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

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).

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.

Please contact a Council Customer Service Representative on (06) 366 0999 or email us at 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.

The Council's water meter or toby box is usually located on the berm just outside your front fence.

In some instances, water tobies are installed up `Right of Ways' and occasionally within private property. The actual position of your meter may be recorded on Councils online mapping system.

Alternatively, these locations can be given over the telephone by contacting Councils Customer Services Team.

In some areas a white line drawn on the road may also indicate the tobys location.

Turning the toby off?

For boxes containing a blue lid
These have a tap, with a very small symbol on the top indicating which way to turn on and off.

For boxes containing a metal plate
These have a handle system, turn handle the opposite way, this should shut the water off.

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 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.

Council receives notification of a sale from the vendor's lawyers and a final water meter reading is completed near settlement - the fee is $61.00. Alternatively, customers can email a photo of the water meter  taken on or near settlement day, showing the reading, to waterbilling@horowhenua.govt.nz.

Properties with water meters can be identified with a white stripe on the kerb or road.

If 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.

Identify if the issue only affects your property

Please check to see if the neighbours are having the same problem?

If you have already spoken to your neighbour and the issue appears to be isolated to your property then please check that the toby at the boundary has not been tampered with, or turned off.

The toby is usually located in either a blue box or under a metal plate. Try turning the tap/or handle to see if the problem is corrected.

Read the 'FAQ - How do I turn off the water supply to my property?' for instructions

The toby meter dial appears to be moving rapidly and the toby is on

If the meter dial appears to be moving rapidly and the toby is on, then this indicates a leak on your property.

Council does not undertake any repairs on private property, you will need to contact a plumber.

If the toby appears to be operating, and the supply has not changed, check that the dial on the meter is turning rapidly. If the dial is not rapidly turning, then there may be a problem with Councils supply.

If you can see water leaking in a Council berm or from the road, contact Councils Customer Service Team on 06 366 0999 or email enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz

If the toby appears to be operating, however the supply has not changed, check that the dial on the meter is turning rapidly. If the dial is not rapidly turning, then there may be a problem with Councils supply.

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).

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.

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.