Water meters come in different forms across New Zealand and knowing which you have could end up saving you money, especially in cases where the council charges a set amount. This post offers a quick and clear breakdown of what water meters are, how to get the most out of them, and which types are available.
What are water meters?
Water meters are the property of your local council. As such, they are responsible for the upkeep and repair of your meter. They use the reading on your meter to charge you for your water use. Rates are not the same across the board- the purpose of your water changes the cost. For example, if your water is classified as for domestic use, your charge will be lower than for non-domestic, or commercial use. Sometimes, your meter may be shared with a property that runs a business. This will increase your bill because you will both be charged the higher amount. There are ways around this, however, check with your local council for more.
You can use a water meter to check if any of your plumbing has a leak, but first you’ll need to locate the meter. Usually, for easy council access, you’ll find it in the ground, with a plastic cover on the border of your property. Once you’ve found it, use this guide from Watercare to help you read your water meter.
Types of water meters
Some older properties have a set-up known as deduction meters. This is where the council supplies water to a meter which then leads down a private line a property. Sometimes, the private line will lead to a sub-deduction meter which then leads to another property. In these cases, some properties will be on a shared private line, which the home owners are responsible for maintaining. The council will remain responsible for the line leading to the original meter. The setup is similar for master-subsidiary meters. New properties are no longer able to apply for these meters, but some are still in use dating back to pre-2000s.
If your home is part of a block of flats or units, you are probably on a shared meter. To have your water use measured independently, you can either apply to split from the shared meter, or apply for a check meter. The latter could be a cheaper option, but if the split is long-term, the first option may better suit your needs.
Rain tank water meters
If you have a rainwater collection tank, you may want to consider using a rain tank water meter. Generally, people without a rainwater tank just get charged a set amount by the council. However, you may not use all the collected water, so applying for a rain tank water meter could end up saving you money, as it charges a lower set amount and then charges you in proportion to the water you actually use.