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Water | Te Wai

Council’s water services include drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.

Our water usage has a direct impact on our local rivers; the more water we use, the less that is in our rivers. A key part of taking care of our rivers is limiting the water we use during our driest periods.

During summer there might be some days when we ask you not to water your garden. When things get a bit dry we need to prioritise water for drinking and sanitation over water for our gardens.

Keep up to date with current restrictions by visiting this page, our Facebook page, pick up Saturday’s Wairarapa Times Age or listen to any local radio station.

Water Meter Installation

Masterton District Council is installing around 9,000 water meters from early February 2020. Meters will not be used to charge for water until the 2021-22 financial year. The charging structure for water will be part of public consultation during the annual plan process beginning in March 2021.

Most water meters will be installed where water supplies for individual properties leave the water main – under the blue panels on roadsides and footpaths. Previous work means many meters can be installed quickly next to the tap used to control the supply from the main (known as a toby).

Water will be turned off for a short time while meters are installed, and you will receive a leaflet explaining the process a few days beforehand. You will also get a confirmation after the meter has been installed. Records suggest just over 75 per cent of households have a separate water supply, with some properties receiving water from a shared supply, i.e. more than one property receives water from a single toby. In these cases, the council will install a meter at the toby, and contact property owners to discuss options for metering individual properties.

The “smart” meters being installed do not need to be read manually, but send an encrypted electronic signal from an authorised vehicle as passes by. While the meters will not be used for charging until 2021, the council will monitor recorded usage and follow up volumes that may signal a leak requiring action.

Why is the Council installing water meters?

Water is a precious resource, and we need to manage how we use it – but we can’t manage what we can’t measure.

Meters are expected to reduce water use, help find leaks and give water users better information about their water use.

Do I have to have a water meter?

Yes, the meters are being placed on council-owned infrastructure – the water mains – to help manage Masterton’s water consumption.

Where will they be installed?

The meters will be installed at the point where the supply branches off from the water mains. This can be identified by a blue cover, with a tap underneath to control supply to a particular address. These are often called tobys.

Will each individual address get its own meter?

Our intention is that every urban household in Masterton has a separate meter.

Some properties have a shared water supply. After a meter has been installed on the footpath or street, we will contact these property owners to talk about metering options for individual properties. This is likely to be after September 2020.

How can I tell if I'm on a shared supply?

If there is one blue panel covering the water connection or “toby” on the footpath or street, and more than one property next to it, perhaps down a drive, the water supply may be shared. This may be the case for flats or cross leases.

What happens if I'm on a shared supply?

When there is shared supply, we need to talk to owners about where meters are installed because they are likely to be on private property. If homeowners can turn off the water supply to their property without affecting other properties, it should be easy to install a meter at no charge to the property owner.

If there is only one place to turn off water for several properties, council staff will visit to check the water supply. Tobys might have been covered by soil or gardens, or some new pipework may be needed so a meter can be installed for each property. In rare cases we might not be able to install a separate meter for each property without a significant change to pipework.

If a lot of work on private property is needed, there might be a cost to the property owners, and they might prefer to share a meter instead. But charges would be structured in such a way that they will not be paying for their neighbours’ water use.

How will I know when my meter is going to be installed?

Our contractors will put an information sheet in your letterbox before the meter is installed. You’ll also be told when the meter has been installed.

How long will installation take?

Installation will generally take less than an hour, but there will inevitably be variations to this. Your water will be turned off during this work.

Once it's installed, how can I check that it's working?

Yes, we encourage you to take advantage of the water meters. All you need to do is open the blue cover on the footpath or roadside outside our property, and flip open the lid on the top of the meter to see your consumption. You’ll see a small screen with a row of numbers, like the odometer in your car.

The number on far right-hand side represents one litre.

Will I be able to tell how much water I am using by just looking at the meter?

Yes. If the numbers are ticking over, water is moving through the pipe on the house side of the meter.

What do I do if the meter is moving and there are no taps on?

There could be a few different reasons for this; you might be on a shared supply or you might have a leak. The first thing to do is give us a call so we can make sure the meter is working properly.

Water Tanks

200 litre water tanks are suitable for garden watering and as an emergency water supply.

These are available either in green or bone colour from the Council office at 161 Queen Street.

The cost is $110 per tank and they measure 1100x600mm

Features of the tank include:

  • Easy installation
  • Easy transportation
  • Food grade, UV resistant plastic
  • All fittings, including a Superfill Diverter Kit, strapping and a tap
  • 10 year warranty for the tank and 1 year warranty for the diverter kit

Masterton Flood Hazard

Masterton is a river town with the Waipoua running through our urban area. It’s an important natural asset that gives us identity and connection to our environment. It also means Masterton faces a risk of flooding.

Part of our job is to protect residents from the effects of flooding. To do this, we all need to understand the flood risk, put affordable and acceptable flood protection in place and make sure development doesn’t create new problems.

In 2014, GWRC modelled the spread of flooding across urban Masterton in one of these 1% annual chance floods. Thanks to access to better information, technology and local knowledge we have a more accurate picture of what a significant and infrequent flood would look like. The modelling has been revised and updated, it now shows a future 1% annual chance flood is likely to have less impact on the Masterton urban area than first thought. The modelling is still in draft stage pending an independent audit.

Impact on Masterton

The maps, which are still in draft stage, show some areas of the Masterton urban area are likely to experience flooding in a 1% annual chance flood. This is mainly around Oxford Street and areas bordering Akura Road. The depth of flooding varies depending on the scenario being considered; most is likely to be below 30cm but some areas experience flooding up to two metres.

The spread of flooding increases when other scenarios are factored in, for example, assuming a greater amount of debris collects on the railway bridge, assuming greater river flows, or a “rougher” river channel.

Work has also been done to model what a flood would look like in the future (2090) with the impacts of climate change factored in. In this scenario, the flooding spreads across the urban area to the south-west of the Waipoua River, including the central business district. However, this flood spread is smaller than what was initially thought in 2014.

Read more information about Masterton’s flood hazard (PDF, 1.24MB)Open this document with ReadSpeaker docReader

Download the draft flood hazard maps:

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 117KB)

Do your part, be water smart

We all need to play our part in saving water. Find ways to save water around your home by checking out the Smarter Homes website or download our water conservation guide (PDF, 891KB).

You can also try some of these tips to help you save water at home:


  • Water your garden before 7am or after 9pm.
  • Water your garden with a handheld hose only.
  • Most gardens do well being watered every other day at most.
  • Water your garden at cooler, less windy times of the day to ensure your plants retain the water they need.
  • Set your lawn mower to leave grass slightly longer. Short grass dries out sooner.


  • Turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth or shaving – you could save 10 litres of water a minute.
  • Reduce your shower time to four minutes or less.
  • Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors.
  • Use the half flush on your toilet.


  • Wait until you have a full load before starting your dishwasher. Use the eco-setting if you can.
  • Avoid rinsing dishes.


  • Wait until you have a full load before starting your washing machine, or use the partial load settings.


  • Use a broom to sweep your driveway rather than hosing it clean.
  • Wash your car with a bucket of water on the lawn and you’ll water your lawn at the same time.
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