From 1 July 2022, households that regularly use much more water than the average will pay an excess water supply targeted rate.

Read the decision announcement(external link) about the excess water supply targeted rate(external link).


How it 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 or taking seven baths.

Property owners in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula will pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1,000 litres they use over the average limit.

Water use will be recorded and billed for on a quarterly basis (roughly every 90 days).

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.

Exemptions

There are some exemptions to the charge, such as:

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

Why is the Council charging more for water?
It’s important to understand we’re not charging for the water itself. We’re charging for the extra cost of pumping and delivering it through our supply network to those households that regularly use far more than the average. Most properties in Christchurch won’t receive a charge.

The main reason for the excess water supply targeted rate is to reduce water demand during peak times in summer. If we can do this, it means we won't have to spend as much money on upgrading and building new infrastructure.

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. 

When will you start charging?
From 1 July 2022. Given we expect the majority of charges to happen during the summer months when water use is at its highest, it’s likely the first invoices will be sent out towards the end of 2022.

I already pay for a large water allocation based on my property’s capital value, why are you also now charging me for excess use?
We charge for the delivery of water based on the capital value (CV) of a property. This means the higher the CV of a property, the more the property owner pays for their water supply. This is the water supply targeted rate.

In addition to this rate, we will be charging high residential water users an excess water supply targeted rate. This means those properties that regularly place a very high demand on the public water supply network will contribute to the extra costs of supplying them with extra water.

Currently, the top 20 per cent of household water users in Christchurch use more than 50 per cent of the city’s entire residential water supply. We think it’s fair that if they want to keep using lots of water, then they should help with the higher costs involved in supplying it.

Can you tell me what my water usage is?
Yes. You can call email water.consumption@ccc.govt.nz and we can confirm your usage, or call us on 941 8999 (0800 800 169).

How can I check my water use myself?
Later this year we will be rolling out a way for people to easily check their quarterly water use online. In the meantime, you can follow the instructions to check your own water meter(external link).

Where is my water meter?
Water meters are usually located in a box in the ground, on or near your property’s front boundary, on the far left or right side. You can also find your water meter(external link).

How can I tell if I have a leak on my property?
The most accurate way to know whether you have a leak is to check your water meter. This is done by first making sure no water is turned on anywhere on your property. Then you can go ahead and check your meter. You can follow the instructions(external link).

Why do I have to pay to have my leak fixed?
If a leak is discovered on your property, it’s up to you to get this fixed as soon as possible. The Council is responsible for pipes and fittings up to your property’s boundary.

How do I know my water meter is accurate? 
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 use 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.

Will I be able to on-charge my tenants for their water use?
Please visit the Government’s Tenancy Services website(external link) for information about this.

Who will receive the invoice?
Generally the property owner, or the same person who receives the property's rates bill. Later this year we will be rolling out a way for anyone to easily check a property's quarterly water usage online, similar to the way you can publicly search a property's rates and valuation through our website.

I live beside several properties on a single water meter, how is the Council going to bill us?
At this stage, you won't be charged. Over time we’ll work with property owners to ensure every property has its own water meter.

What about farm irrigators and water-bottling plants, will they now pay extra for their water?
Farm irrigators and water-bottling plants aren’t connected to the Council’s water supply network (they have their own water supply), so they won’t be affected by the excess water use targeted rate.

How much water do you expect to save as a council?
Based on evidence from other councils that have put in place volumetric water charging, they have confirmed a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in total water use. We expect about the same.

Can I get a reduction in my rates if I am way under the limit?
No. There is no reduction in rates if you are under the limit.

How did you arrive at the 700-litre average daily limit?
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.

Will this help with summertime water restrictions?
Yes. One of the reasons restrictions need to be put in place every summer is because of the incredibly high usage at peak times (generally evenings). If we can stop these peaks, then it will mean no restrictions are needed. The main reason for the excess water use targeted rate is to help reduce the extreme demand on our network at certain times.

Example

Let’s say a household uses, on average, 1,200 litres of water per day during a billing period.

We know the average daily limit is 700 litres per day, so the household's average use is 500 litres more per day than the limit.

Calculated over a 90-day billing period, this works out to be 45,000 litres more than the limit of 63,000 litres.

The excess charge is $1.35 per 1,000 litres used over the limit, so 45,000 extra litres is equal to 45 x $1.35, a total charge of $60.75.