Water meters: yes or no?

Local News

Cutting how much water we all use each day is good for our environment and could save millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

Our District remains one of the thirstiest places in the country and we want feedback on whether water meters should be put in to every house on the water network, as part of our Top 10 Kōrero looking at the big issues facing the community.

Feedback from residents will help shape the 2021-2031 10-year work programme, planning how $2 billion in public funds should be spent.

Water meters could be included as part of a broader plan to get water use down, so people are only charged for what they actually use.

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says while we get a lot of rain in Taranaki, we’re already taking too much water from our rivers and streams.

“Our district has a growing population and if we carry on using water the way we do now, we will have to spend as much $123 million on upgrade projects over the next 30 years, including finding a new water source,” says Mayor Holdom.

“One of the main challenges with saving water is that currently each household only pays a flat rate of less than a dollar a day for water which means how much we use often goes under the radar.”

Summer water restrictions and our Wai Warrior programme have helped cut the average daily water use by each resident from 336 litres to 292 litres per day, but this is still nearly double that of Auckland.  After Tauranga City Council introduced meters in 2002, the average per capita water use fell by 25 per cent. This meant Tauranga could delay about $70 million on water supply spending over more than 10 years.

“To help us take the next step in saving water we could put in water meters so that each household is charged for what they actually use,” says Mayor Holdom.

Early estimates are that it would take two years and cost around $15 million to install water meters across the New Plymouth District. But average water use could drop by about a quarter over 10 years and mean savings of about $40 million on infrastructure upgrades over the next 30 years.