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

We’re committed to managing our water demand to help preserve and enhance our district’s natural environment. Our water usage has a direct impact on our local rivers; the more water we use, the less that is flowing in our rivers.

We’ve worked with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to better understand how we can balance our water consumption while preserving the health of our rivers. A key element is limiting the amount of water we use during our driest periods.

Over summer there may be some days when you’re asked not to water your garden. When things get a bit dry we need to place priority on water needed for drinking and sanitation –  our gardens need to become less of a priority in these times.

To keep up to date with current restrictions over summer keep coming back to our website, visit our Facebook page, pick up Saturday’s Wairarapa Times Age or listen to the local radio station.

Water Meter Installation

Masterton District Council will start installing around 9,000 water meters in early February 2020, but meters will not be used to charge for water until the 2021-22 financial year. The charging structure for water using the meters will be part of public consultation about next year’s annual plan, 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. Preparatory work in recent years 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 residents will receive a leaflet several days before the work explaining the process. They will also receive a confirmation after a 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?

We want to be sure we are making the best possible use of our water.

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 consumption, help identify 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 meters be installed?

The first meters will be installed at the point where supplies branch off from the water mains. These can be identified by blue covers, with taps underneath to control supplies to particular addresses. These are often called tobys.

Will each individual address get its own meter?

About 75 per cent of properties in Masterton have individual supplies and will receive an individual meter.

Some properties have a shared water supply. After the meter has been installed, Masterton District Council will contact these property owners to discuss metering options for individual properties.

How can I tell if I am on a shared supply?

If you can turn the tap off at the street and more than one house is affected, then the supply is shared. This may be the case for flats or cross leases.

What happens if I am on a shared supply?

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

If it appears there is only one place to turn off water for several properties, council staff will visit to check the water supply. It may be that tobys have been covered by soil or gardens, or some new pipework may be required to enable a meter to be installed for reach property. In rare cases it may not be possible to install a separate meter for each property without a significant change to pipework, but we believe this will be unusual.

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

Does that mean I won’t get my own meter?

After we have installed a meter on the road/footpath, we will let you know if we believe you are on a shared supply.

After the initial meter installations, we will contact you to discuss options.

How will I know when my meter is being installed?

Our contractors will put an information sheet in our letterbox before the meter is installed.  You’ll also be advised when the meter is 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 is installed, can I check that the meter is 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 moving through the pipe on the house side of the meter.

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

There could a number of reasons for this; it’s possible you may be on a shared supply or you may have a leak. But the first thing to do is give the council 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 Masterton District Council office – 161 Queen Street.

Cost is $105 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.

A key role of local authorities is to work with communities to protect them from the effects of hazards including flooding. To do this, we all need to understand the flood risk, put affordable and acceptable flood protection in place and ensure inappropriate development doesn’t create new problems. In 2014, Greater Wellington Regional Council shared its understanding of 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 now have a more accurate picture of what a significant and infrequent flood would look like in Masterton. The modelling has been revised and updated in collaboration with Masterton District Council.

The new modelling now available shows a future 1% annual chance flood is likely to have less impact on the Masterton urban area than initially 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 potential 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:

  • Map OneOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader – Base scenario
  • Map TwoOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader – Base case with sensitivity scenarios
  • Map ThreeOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader – Prediction of 2090 1% annual chance flood
  • Map FourOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader – Change in understanding, 2014 to 2018

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 117KB)

Do your part, be water smart

We all need to play our part in conserving water. To explore ways to save water around your home check 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. When possible, use the eco-setting.
  • 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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