Thames Valley Water Project

This project began in 2014 and is due to be completed by 2021. Old water pipes are being replaced and meters are being installed in order to better identify leaks and better manage our precious water resources.

Project overview

The Thames Valley water supply project has been identified in the Council plans for a number of years. The water supply pipes in this area are very old (in some places well over 60 years) and depending on metered usage patterns, they may need renewing.

The Thames Valley Water Supply Project covers the following communities and water supplies:

  • Matatoki - supplied by the Matatoki Stream;
  • Puriri - supplied by the Apakura Stream; and
  • Omahu, Hikutaia and Wharepoa - supplied by the Omahu Stream

The water sources used to supply the settlements in the Thames Valley (Omahu, Apakura and Matatoki streams) are relatively small and consented abstraction rates are under scrutiny from the Waikato Regional Council.

July 2019 update

The water supplies in the Thames Valley part of our district have been upgraded over the last few years, including trunk water mains.

As this work has progressed, water meters have been installed, first on properties larger than 4 hectares and then on the remaining properties.

A water rates charging mechanism for the larger non-residential properties, such as farms, has been in place since 2014.

As of 1 July 2019, water use on properties less than 4 hectares is charged to the property owner according to the amount consumed.

The charge is currently $1.27/m3, which is the same rate as the rest of the district. Thames Valley residents, however, receive a 50% rebate on this charge because the supplies are registered as rural supplies and should be treated at point of use. Note that there is a permanent 'boil water' notice for water for human consumption.

Meters are read twice a year and invoiced according to usage. Our Council is considering quarterly reading and this decision will be determined by usage patterns in the first year.

Why start charging now?

With the increased focus to improve the sustainability of our rivers, the Waikato Regional Council has introduced requirements to maintain minimum flows for rivers, thus reducing the amount of water that is available to be taken.  This has raised a challenge of supply versus the demand for our Council.

Based on this, the Council identified several improvements over a six year period beginning 2014/15 that would allow the better management of our water supply system.  These project works include the following:

  • Installation of meters on all property connections to encourage better management of water. Charging by the amount used is a more equitable way for the community to pay for water services as opposed to a flat rate no matter how much is consumed
  • Installation of bulk meters on the reticulation pipe network to enable better management of the system by identifying high-use areas and possible leaks in the distribution network.
  • Replacement of the aging reticulation pipe network to reduce water loss through leaks and breakages.
  • Installation of the reservoirs to reduce the impact to the supply during large rainfall events.
  • Water-take consent renewals.

These works have been staged over several years and are expected to be completed in the 2020/21 financial year.

Project stages:

  • Stage 1: COMPLETED - Installation of water meters to properties over 4 hectares and the introduction of a new water rates charging mechanism (for non-residential properties like farms).
  • Stage 2: COMPLETED - Investigating other water supply options (such as new water sources, making better use of current infrastructure, roof supply etc.) to future-proof water security for the area (click here to find out more about the investigation and the option that was selected)
  • Stage 3: ONGOING - Apply for new resource consents from the regional council:
  1. An interim consent has been granted for the Apakura Stream but an upgrade is anticipated;
  2. A new consent was granted for Matatoki Stream in 2014;
  3. The consent application for the Omahu Stream has been submitted.
  • Stage 4: COMPLETED - Two water mains have been renewed in the Thames Valley: Factory Road South in Wharepoa, and Ferry Road in Hikutaia.
  • Stage 5: COMPLETED - Complete hydraulic modelling of the combined water supplies.
  • Stage 6: ONGOING - Renewal of older watermains and major pipelines on the reticulation network is ongoing.      Further mains will be replaced over the remaining years of the project, based on high water loss areas, and will include the following:
    • The Matatoki to Puriri systems have been linked.
    • Upgrade of the Omahu to Hikutaia main was completed in October 2018.
    • Other mains will be replaced as required, based on high water loss areas, and may include the following:
    1. Matatoki, Bond and Wainui Roads
    2. Puriri to Omahu Valley Road - 2019/20
    3. Wharepoa and Omahu rural network - 2020/21
  • Stage 7: COMPLETED - The installation of water meters on properties less than 4 hectares, as per our resource consent requirements, has been completed. Reading of these meters took place in 2018/19 with invoicing for water begun from July 2019. Installation of bulk meters on the reticulation network was completed in 2019.
  • Stage 8: ONGOING - Investigations for the installation of raw water reservoirs for Puriri and Hikutaia. Investigation works are ongoing from 2018/19 with construction planned in 2019/20.

Check for water leaks

Given the old age of much of the infrastructure in the area, there is a good chance that there are water leaks that have gone unnoticed for some time on some private properties.  Because the water supply was installed so long ago, there may be water connections that property owners don't even know about.

We suggest residents check their water supply pipes now for any evidence of leaks so they don't get larger than expected water charges when they are implemented in July 2019.

Here's some handy information on checking for a leak.

We also have a very good brochure about our water meters so you can understand more about them, how to read them and how they work and how to spot a problem. Download the brochure from the 'download box' on the right-hand side of this page.