In this section

Description of the introduction of water metering and water charges. As well as how to monitor your water usage.

Water rates are levied by the Council to pay for the ongoing costs of operating the water supply, and to provide funds for maintaining and renewing the water supply infrastructure so that it continues to operate at an appropriate level of service.

Current water charges

Households with a restricted water supply are currently on a different rating system (check statuses of our water schemes [PDF, 432 KB]). The daily volume of water supplied to these properties is restricted to a predefined volume.

All supplies On demand supplies Restricted supplies

Minimum charges of $288 per year

  • Additional charges of 72 cents per cubic metre of water (1,000 litres = 1 unit)
  • Additional charge of $207 per water unit.
  • Every six months
  • Quarterly through rates.

Paying your water bill

Selling your property?

  • If your property has water metering, you or your solicitor will need to arrange for a final water meter reading so that your water usage can also be calculated and paid up to the date of settlement.
  • You must give us two (2) working days' notice in writing for us to arrange your final meter reading and invoice.
  • A $50 fee per reading applies.

Please contact our water billing team by email: for this service to be scheduled.

Reading your water meter

1) Find your water meter

  • Your water meter is in a blue toby box inset into the ground, usually located near the roadside at the front of your property. The box has a small hole at one side where you can insert a screwdriver to flip it open. Inside the box your water meter may have a lid which can be opened to show the dial.

2) Read the dial

  • On the water meter the black numbers show the number of complete water units that have been used. 1 unit = 1 cubic metre of water (or 1000 litres of water, around 100 buckets). Red numbers show smaller units (see diagram).Click to view full size image showing water meter parts
  • Your water meter account lists your water meter reading as the ‘present meter reading’.
  • The water meter dial is cumulative, so it doesn’t reset itself to zero each year.  You may want to make a note of your current water meter reading, so you can compare your water use next time you check your meter.
  • We recommend you check your water meter regularly, especially in summer and autumn when households use the most water for lawns and gardens, so you can manage your water costs.

Managing your consumption

Finding a leak

  • A leak at your property can waste thousands of litres of water, at considerable cost to you and our community. A dripping tap can waste up to 33 litres each day!
  • If you think your bill is too high, turn off all taps for at least two hours, take a note of the reading on your meter at the beginning. If the second reading is different to the first, you may have a leak. We recommend you use a registered plumber for any repairs. All leaks on your side of the meter are your responsibility.

Being water wiseStock photo - a tap

  • The normal household activities which use the most water are filling a swimming pool and watering your lawn or garden.
  • Typically water consumption is much higher over the spring, summer and autumn period when people water their lawns and gardens regularly. Watering your lawn for just one hour can use more water than a household normally uses in one day so being careful about how you water your lawn or garden is the best way to manage your water use.
  • For information on household water consumption and tips on conserving water visit our Water Conservation page.

More about water metering

A new standard district-wide rating system for water was introduced from 1 July 2015. From July 2015 to June 2018, Council installed water meters onto all properties connected to Council water supplies throughout the district.

  • This was to recognise that residents on Council supplies throughout the district receive similar levels of service so should pay similar charges.
  • Water meters have been demonstrated to reduce water consumption as they link water use to charging – so people who use more water pay more in charges, while properties with lower water use benefit from lower charges.  Water is not an unlimited resource and in Canterbury declining groundwater levels have been a concern in recent years, so the Council wants to encourage people to manage their water consumption carefully.
  • Properties not connected to a Council water supply, for example rural properties which have their own bore, are not required to pay any charges.