Water meter charges planned for Masterton

5:19 pm on 21 March 2024
Water meters are planned to be used for Masterton water charges as of July 2025. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Water meters are planned to be used for Masterton water charges as of July 2025. Photo: LDR / Emily Ireland

Masterton residents will be charged for their water using meters from 1 July next year.

The move was signalled in Masterton District Council's Long Term Plan (LTP) as part of a wider strategy to manage its three waters assets.

According to a council report about key content for the LTP Consultation Document, the council will be developing a water meter charging policy in the first year of the 2024-34 LTP, which will be implemented in mid-2025.

The report said that after three years of work, the installation of water meters was nearly completed and charging for water use was part of the council's demand management strategy.

Previously, there were no plans to charge for water using meters but they were used to help "reduce consumption, identify leaks, and give us better information about water use", the council's website said.

"Water meters were first raised as part of the 2015 Long Term Plan process," the website said.

"In the Long Term Plan consultation in 2018, 56 percent of respondents supported installing water meters on all residential properties that are connected to the urban water supply.

"Based on results in other districts, installing water meters could reduce water loss from leaks by up to 30 percent, and reduce demand by 20 percent."

The LTP report said water resilience was a "key area of focus for council and our community".

Along with developing a water meter charging policy, key LTP actions for water resilience in the LTP included expanding the council's raw water storage capacity at Kaituna ($8.4 million), additional reservoir capacity ($7.9m).

The council would also invest $10.2m in water main renewals in the first three years of the LTP.

This includes $3.9m for trunk main replacement which would be loan-funded.

The average of $2.1m per annum over the first three years of water main renewals is a step up from the previous spend of $1.6m per year.

The impact on the average ratepayer by year three of the LTP will be an additional $96 per year - $1.85 per week.

In the wastewater space, Masterton District Council would be investing $6.27m in sewer reticulation renewals in the first three years, with $1.22m coming from external funds.

"Wastewater and associated challenges have been top of mind for council over the past two years, with issues exacerbated by heavy rainfall and high water tables," the report said.

Over three years, the impact of the additional rates funding needed on the average urban residential property would be $91 per annum - $1.75 per week.

The council would also invest $600,000 per year into stormwater renewals and maintenance.

The council would not be consulting on three waters spending because the increased spend related to essential work that is required to improve the three waters network.

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