Water meters and charges
How does it work?
Since 2010 we have undertaken a staged programme of water metering for all customers connected to Council's water supply.
Newly metered customers are charged for water at the same rate as existing metered properties. Charging for the water use of each property will begin in the year following the installation of the meter.
Meters are the only tool by which Council can measure how much water is being used; identify unaccountable water loss; provide information to users on how much water they are using; indicate to Council how it can plan for water use in the future.
Water rate charges are based on forecast expenditure in the period needed to maintain and supply water to the District. These costs are split between fixed costs and variable costs.
Fixed costs are those incurred by Council before users turn on the tap. They include staff-related costs (staff time spent on scheduled maintenance and monitoring), interest, depreciation on water assets and costs associated with making the water system available as a service to the public. Council recovers fixed costs via a connection charge which is the same for all users district-wide
Variable costs include costs such as maintenance to the water system and treatment processes. Variable costs increase as water consumption increases. Water is charged per cubic metre (1000 litres). Council recovers variable costs via a consumption (metered) charge). So the more water you use, the more you pay. Matching fixed costs to the connection charge and matching variable costs to the consumption charge enables Council to recover the costs of delivering the service.
The water charges per cubic metre (excluding GST) are:
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between the water rate and the metered rate?
The water rate is the fixed charge component and the consumption charge is based on the amount of water used – as recorded on the meter at each property.
Where do I find my water charge?
The fixed connection charge appears on the ratepayer’s rate assessment statement. This is a fixed charge that is the same for everyone across the District because Council believes the cost to deliver water to a tap should be the same no matter where people live. The variable consumption charge (water usage) is sent out separately. Both invoices are distributed twice a year. The consumption charge is based on meter readings carried out by Council staff twice yearly and varies according to the amount of water each property uses.
Why do I get separate water bills?
Your rates invoice, which you receive twice a year, contains information of your fixed water charge, as that is a component of your total rates. Your water usage invoice is separate to your rates’ invoice and comes twice a year after each six-monthly reading of your water meter by Council staff.
How do Western Bay’s water charges compare with other councils?
Our charges are higher than some councils for two main reasons:
- The size and the topography of our District. If we were to compare our area to Tauranga City Council, we are significantly more rural and the contours of the land are more rugged. This means we have to install and maintain more treatment plants and pipelines. The operation of this extensive water network together with the conversion from surface-fed to underground supplies are some of the key reasons for the higher water charges compared to some other local authorities.
- Investment for future capacity: In the past 15 years, Western Bay has invested significantly in water infrastructure; universal metering and the initial conversion from surface-fed to underground water supply. This investment has allowed for additional capacity in the water system to accommodate growth in the district.
Does everyone in the District get charged for water?
Everyone whose household is connected to Council’s reticulation is charged a fixed charge for water and everyone who is connected to a meter is charged a fixed charge and a consumption charge for water used. If Council’s reticulation system runs past a property but that property is not connected to our system, the householder will be paying only an availability charge (fixed charge). Availability means that the property has the ability to connect to Council’s system. People living in rural areas outside of Council’s reticulated supply have their own on-site water supply, therefore receive no water charges from Council.
How to read your water meter
Most water meters measure your water usage in cubic metres (there are 1000 litres in a cubic metre). A few older meters use imperial measurement.
Your meter shows two sets of numbers, the first set of four numbers is in black on white and shows the number of cubic metres used. These are the only numbers you need to record for keeping your monthly note of water use. The second set of three numbers is in red, white or black depending on the type of meter you have and shows the litres. These figures are helpful for picking up changes in water use over a short time, such as the overnight leakage test we recommend.
If your meter is different from the example and you need help reading it, please telephone (07) 571 8008.