A campaign to alert Christchurch and Banks Peninsula residents of potential water leaks on their properties has already saved millions of litres of water.
Christchurch City Council has increased the frequency at which it reads residential water meters and has begun sending letters to the city’s top water users, encouraging them to check their properties for water leaks that could be contributing to their high water use.
“Shortly we are going to start charging for excess water use so we wanted to give property owners with very high water use time to check for leaks and to get them fixed,’’ says Council Head of Three Waters Helen Beaumont.
“Our first port of call was getting in touch with owners of properties using more than 6000 litres of water a day because we think it’s likely they have a leak somewhere on their property,’’ Ms Beaumont says.
“We have heard back from about 10 per cent of the property owners that we contacted and many have indeed found leaks that they were totally unaware of until they heard from us.
“One property owner in Avonhead found two leaks that they were not aware of. Since they have had them fixed, their water use has reduced by 42,000 litres a day or 294,000 litres a week. Another property owner has seen their water consumption drop by 16,000 litres a day after they discovered a leak and had it fixed.
“Water leaks are the biggest source of wasted water, so it’s great to see property owners being proactive about getting them fixed to save water and take pressure off our water pumps and pipes,’’ Ms Beaumont says.
“It can be hard to know if you have a leak as they aren’t always easy to see. Checking for common causes and reading your water meter are good ways to assess if you have a leak so you can get it fixed by a certified professional. Undetected leaks can also cause property damage, so it’s really important to sort them as soon as possible.’’
Ms Beaumont says with the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate due to come into effect on 1 July*, all households in the district should be checking their water use.
The rate will apply to any single household that has a water meter installed, and uses, on average, more than 700 litres a day – roughly equivalent to 100 toilet flushes. Property owners who use in excess of that will pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1000 litres they use over the limit.
“Most households in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are average water users and will not receive a bill,’’ says Ms Beaumont. “Charging for excess water use will help the Council to manage water demand and will reduce pumping costs over summer.
“Long term, we won’t need to spend as much money expanding our water supply network, and it will also improve the sustainability of our city’s water supply, which will help us achieve our climate change goals,” Ms Beaumont says.
“We expect the average charge to be in the realm of tens of dollars rather than hundreds.’’
*It is possible this date could be changed by the Council when it meets on Tuesday 21 June to consider and adopt the 2022-23 Annual Plan.