Waipa District Council will begin installing water meters in those parts of the district that do not already have them within the next couple of months.
But water bills are still years away with the first new bills not rolling out until mid-2018.
Many parts of Waipa including Ohaupo, parts of Pirongia and most rural industrial and commercial users have had water meters for years. Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Kihikihi remain the only areas without them. In the 10-Year Plan signed off last year, Council confirmed it would install meters across the district by 2018.
Project delivery manager Lorraine Kendrick said a resource consent from the Waikato Regional Council requires meters to be installed in Te Awamutu. Installing meters district-wide was the fairest way to help drive down overall demand for water, she said. With meters, householders pay a fixed charge (like an electricity line charge) and variable charge depending on how much water is used. The less water households use, the less they pay.
“Water is expensive to treat and supply and those costs are borne by ratepayers. Water meters help drive down demand and so help keep costs down for everyone.”
Waipa’s water strategy is clear that water use in Waipa needs to average around 190 litres per person, per day if ratepayers are to avoid funding more expensive water infrastructure in the future.
Currently average daily use is closer to 250 litres, per person, per day. In Ohaupo, which has been metered since 1991, average daily water use is 26 per cent per less - around 185 litres per person, per day.
During May and June, meters will be installed into existing meter manifolds already in place on around 700 properties, largely in newer subdivisions.
“It’s a 10-minute job and doesn’t involve any digging or anything like that,” Kendrick said. “It literally involves screwing the meter in and that’s it.”
More substantial work will start later in the year, as meters are installed across Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Kihikihi. In between the council will continue working with the community to educate users about ways to save water.
“Water meters are only one way to help manage the demand for water – but not the only way. We’ll will also be identifying and replacing leaky pipes and working with rural, industrial and commercial users to help them better manage water use. There are many ways to save water and we can help.”