From 1 July 2022, households that regularly use much more water than the average will pay extra for their water supply.

How the new rate will work

The targeted rate will apply to any single household with a water meter that uses, on average, more than 700 litres a day – roughly equivalent to 100 toilet flushes.

Property owners in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula will pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1000 litres they use over the average limit.

Most households are average water users and won’t use enough to receive an invoice.

From 1 July 2022, we'll read your water meter and invoice you for any excess water use on a quarterly basis (roughly every 90 days). Meter reads cannot be requested.

Generally, the property owner, or the same person who receives the property's rates invoice, will also receive the excess water supply invoice.

There won't be a reduction in rates for households that use less water than the excess limit, and no rebates or discounts will apply under any circumstances.

Shared water meters

Where multiple households are served by a single water meter, we won’t invoice them until separate meters can be installed, unless there is a special agreement in place specifying which household/ratepayer is responsible for payment. 

Households sharing a water meter are generally low to average water users because the majority are smaller properties within multi-unit developments with very compact or shared gardens.


There are some exemptions to the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate, such as:

  • Unexpected high use due to a leak, upon proof the leak has been repaired promptly
  • Personal circumstances such as medical conditions.

Why we’re introducing the new rate

The main reason is to help reduce the extreme demand on our water supply network at certain times, particularly over summer. If we can do this, it means we won't have to spend as much money upgrading and building new infrastructure to cope with the extreme demand. 

When other parts of the country have put in place similar charges they’ve seen a reduction in water use of 20 to 30 per cent.

The average annual water use for households in Christchurch is 540 litres per day. This is already significantly higher than the household average for other major New Zealand cities.

We arrived at 700 litres per day based on the latest Census data, including average household water use and the average number of occupants per household in Christchurch.

Check your latest recorded water use by using our Water Reporter(external link).

You can also email or call us on 941 8999 (0800 800 169) and we can confirm your water usage. 

Water meter accuracy

Water meters are built to remain accurate for many years, and the data we’ve collected from thousands of meters over the years supports this. As they age, they tend to slightly under-read, not over-read. This means that if you have an older water meter and you trigger the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate, you’re likely paying for less water use rather than more. 

The Council isn’t required to regularly test or calibrate water meters, but you can request a calibration of your meter if you believe it isn’t accurate. If we test the meter but find it’s still accurate, then you must cover the cost of the calibration testing. If we test and find the meter is not accurate, then we will cover the costs of the testing and the repair or replacement of the meter.

Querying a meter reading

If you believe your latest quarterly meter reading is incorrect:

  • Take a photo of your water meter so that it clearly shows the serial number and current reading
  • Email the photo, along with your address, to
  • We'll get back to you within five working days.

Learn how to find and read your water meter(external link) and see our guide on how to check for leaks(external link).

If a leak is discovered on your property, it’s up to you to get this fixed as soon as possible. We are only responsible for the pipes and fittings up to your property’s boundary.

Leak in the road?

Use our Snap Send Solve app(external link) to report it, or contact us(external link).

The Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate will come into effect for Christchurch and Banks Peninsula households from 1 July 2022.

Generally, the property owner, or the same person who receives the property's rates invoice, will also receive the excess water supply invoice.

Visit the Government's Tenancy Services website(external link) for information about tenants and their water use.

The Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate will come into effect from 1 July 2022.

From this time, if you receive an invoice and believe you should be exempt from paying it, you can apply for an exemption.

More information about the process for applying for an exemption will be provided closer to July 2022.

Farm irrigators and water-bottling plants aren’t connected to the Council’s water supply network (they have their own water supplies), so they won’t be affected by the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate.

How we calculate the rate


700  x  Number of days since your last meter reading  =  Excess water supply limit.

If your water use since your last meter reading is greater than the Excess water supply limit, you may receive an invoice.


A property's water meter was last read 95 days ago.

Using the formula above, 700 x 95 gives us a limit of 66,500 litres for the period.

The property's latest meter reading shows it has used 100,000 litres in those 95 days.

100,000 litres is 33,500 litres more than the limit.

The rate is $1.35 for every 1000 litres used over the limit.

So 33,500 extra litres is equal to 33 x $1.35, a total charge of $44.55.