Water Use, Leaks and Meters

Checking your Water Meter

This section provides a guide to reading your water meter, checking for water leaks and reducing your water bill.  There are a number of reasons to consistently monitor your water meter:

  • Water isn’t as free and abundant as you might think.
  • If you have a water leak on your property, then our precious water resource is being wasted. Get to know your water meter and you’ll find it easier to do your bit for water conservation. Did you know water for each of our communities comes from groundwater or streams that play a large part in the on-going restoration of the Peninsula’s ecological balance?
  • Water costs money, so if you do have a water leak, it makes sense to get it repaired quickly.

By frequently checking your water meter, you can identify any water wastage and reduce your water usage resulting in a financial gain. Why pay for water you’re not using? It’s surprising how often Council gets phone calls from people who don’t know where their water toby or meter is located. Make sure you know where your meter is.

How to find and read your meter

Unfortunately, not all water meter boxes look the same. Modern boxes are black and have a blue lid. However meter boxes and their lids can also be concrete, steel or even wood, and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. This is also true of the water meters located in these boxes as there are a number of different styles and brands in use depending on when they were installed or last replaced. Once you have located your meter box, open the lid and locate the toby tap which supplies water to your property. You should see the meter adjacent to this. Most meters have a display panel of both black and red figures. The black on white figures show cubic metres, and Council only read these black and white figures for charging purposes.  If checking for possible water leaks (read on to find out how to perform a leak test using your meter) you will need to read both the black on white and the red on white digits. The red digits indicate litres of water passing into your property. Keep in mind, it is each property owner's responsibility to ensure the meter and box is kept visible at all times.

How to use your meter to check for a leak

A simple way to see if you are losing water is to read your water meter before you go to bed at night, and again first thing in the morning before any water appliances are used. You can calculate how much water is being lost through the water that is passed through during this no usage period. But remember not to use any water during the night! This same type of test can be done during the day while you are at work or any other time when there will be no normal water usage occurring on your property.  Here is an example of the process:

  1. Write down all digits on your water meter at start of your test period. Put a decimal point between the black and red digits.
  2. Example - Start of test period reading: 37462859 (Note reading as 3746.2859)
  3. Don’t use any water during your test period.
  4. Write down all the digits on your water meter at the end of your test period before using any water. Again put a decimal point between the black and red digits.
  5. Example - End of test period reading: 37463105 (Note reading as 3746.3105)
  6. Now subtract the total on the start of test period reading from the total on the end of test period reading. 3746.310 (Test period start) - 3746.286 (Test period end) = 24 litres (water volume lost). This gives the volume of water lost overnight. If the meter dues have 4 red digits, the last one represents 1/10 of a litre.  Generally if there is leakage, you will be able to see this register moving.

If these readings indicate there has been water usage, when you are sure that no normal water usage has occurred, this would indicate that you have a leak somewhere on your property. It is the property owner's responsibility to get the leak repaired. If you are unable to locate or repair the problem we would suggest you contact your plumber for help.

How to save money when you've found a leak

If you’re on a metered property and have suffered excessive water consumption due to a leak or other similar circumstances, you can apply for rates relief on your water bill. You will need to provide evidence that you’ve fixed the leak and can then get relief on up to 100 per cent of the excess water charge for the first affected billing period, and 50 per cent for the second affected billing period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all properties have water meters?

Not at present. Currently only Coromandel, Pauanui and Thames townships water supplies are fully metered. Commercial properties in Whitianga and properties over 4 hectares in the Thames Valley area are metered. Council will investigate metering other areas within the 2018-2028 long-term plan period.

What do the charges for water cover?

If you are in one of our water metered areas, you will be charged a set charge for water on your rates account as well as receiving a water account which covers the water consumed through your meter.

All the charges together cover maintenance and upkeep of water supply infrastructure and running of your local water treatment plant as well as the cost of the actual treated water used. Areas that do not have water meters obviously do not get a water account, but still pay for water use through a higher set charge rate type applied to the rate account.

What is a toby?

The meter tap, or toby, shuts off water to the whole of your property. It’s a good idea to know where your meter taps are before an emergency strikes. Check this once or twice a year to make sure it is working properly and if it is corroded, stiff or not working let Council know so it can be repaired or replaced. Council will replace your toby at no cost to the property owner.

Bach owner?

As we mentioned previously if you don’t live on the Peninsula and use your property as a bach, why not turn off the water toby when you leave? It may save you money and will ensure any small water leaks won’t show up and cause damage while you’re not there.

How do I report leaks on public property?

Call us at the Council 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report water leaks or wastage on phone (07) 868 0200.

What else can I do to conserve water?

Visit our water conservation webpage for more tips and advice on water conservation.