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22 January 2020

Masterton District Council (MDC) is planning to start installing around 9,000 water meters in Masterton residential properties in February, but meters will not be used to charge for water services until the 2021-22 financial year.

The charging structure for water using the meters will be part of public consultation on next year’s annual plan, beginning in March.

Most water meters will be installed where water supplies for individual properties leave the council water main – under the blue panels on roadsides and footpaths.

Preparatory work in recent years means the 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 that a meter has been installed.

A total of 8660 meters will be installed, with just over 75 per cent of households (6,700) having a separate water supply.

Initial installation of these meters is expected to take around six months.

Records suggest there are just over 1,600 properties receiving water from a shared supply.

In these cases, the council will contact owners to discuss options for metering.

A total of $5.2 million is being invested in water meter installation.

MDC’s Manager Assets and Operations David Hopman said water meters would be a valuable tool in water management and conservation.

“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,” he said.

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

Water meters were first raised for discussion as part of the 2015 Long Term Plan process.

In 2018, as part of the Long Term Plan consultation process, Masterton District Council asked the community’s view on installing water meters on all residential properties that are connected to the urban water supply – 56 per cent of respondents supported installing water meters.

It is estimated installing water meters could, over the long term, reduce water loss by up to 30 per cent, and reduce demand by 20 per cent.