Water  |  21 Jun 2022

Christchurch City Council is pushing out the introduction of a targeted rating scheme aimed at helping manage the demand for water.

When the Council approved its 2021-31 Long Term Plan last year, it agreed that it would introduce an excess water use targeted rate from 1 July 2022.

The rate is aimed at the small proportion of households in the city who use, on average, more than 700 litres of water a day – roughly equivalent to 100 toilet flushes. Those high water users will pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1000 litres they use over the average limit.

However, remissions will be available for households with eight members or more who are using water responsibly, unexpected high use due to a leak (if households can show the leak was repaired promptly) and personal circumstances, such as medical conditions.

Residents will not get charged until their bill goes above $25 and their average usage above 900 litres a day.

The Council’s main reason for introducing the excess water use charge was to help reduce the extreme demand on the city’s water supply network at certain times, particularly over the summer. During the 2020/21 summer, the top four per cent of water users used 23 per cent of the district’s water.

However, today the Council voted to defer the introduction of the scheme by three months. That means it will now come into effect on 1 October 2022, with the first invoices to pay arriving after 1 January 2023.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says Councillors wanted people to have more time to find and sort leaks and to reduce their water use so they can avoid the charges.

“We’re going to give people as much opportunity as possible to avoid the charges by addressing any water leaks they may have on their property or by modifying the way they use water, particularly outdoors.

“However, is important that we have the new charging system in place for the summer because it will help us to manage demand. Currently, a small proportion of households are using an extremely large amount of water, putting a heavy burden on parts of the water supply network.

“The Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate is intended to get people thinking about the way they use water and how they can reduce their use.

“Households can use our Water Reporter online tool to find out how much water they are using. Our website also has information on how to read your water meter, check for leaks and reduce your water use,’’ the Mayor says.