Water metering


2 min read

Timeframes Application for exemption Implementation of regulations

Water metering regulations started in 2010, mandating anyone taking water at a rate of 5 litres/second or more to measure and report their usage. As of 2022, you need to measure this every 15 minutes and report daily, likely needing a telemetry system. You should already be coordinating with your regional council on this. In 2020, the law was updated to stress these requirements. From 2022 to 2026, specific rules kick in based on your water take rate. Although there's no general exemption, some limited exceptions exist, granted by councils. Speak to your council about requirements and available resources to help.

Water metering regulations were introduced in 2010 and require any consented water take of 5 litres per second or more to measure and report their water take.

From 2022 (or later depending on rate of water take), measurement must be every 15 minutes and reported daily. This will require telemetered systems to be installed in most cases.

If you have a water take that fits this requirement you should already have a system of measuring and reporting in place with your regional council. Reporting to councils under this system was an annual requirement.

In 2020, the legislation requiring water metering was amended via the Resource Management (Measurements and Reporting of Water Takes) Amendment Regulations 2020. The new legislation requires the measurement of takes every 15 minutes and the reporting of this electronically to councils on a daily basis. Essentially this requires a telemetry system.

Timeframes – when do these rules apply?

3 September 2022 – For takes of 20 litres per second or more

3 September 2024 – For takes of 10 litres per second or more

3 September 2026 – For takes of 5 litres per second or more

Can I apply to Council for an exemption from the requirements?

There is no ability under the regulations to apply for resource consent if any of the rules cannot be met. There are a limited exceptions to the regulations that can be applied for by permit (consent) holders and granted by councils:

  • A later deadline for submitting water records can be granted by councils where they are satisfied that it is impractical for the permit holder to provide records daily due to limitations in telecommunications where the recorded measurements are taken. Applications must be made between 12 and 6 months prior to the start of the following water year (01 July – 30 June) and can only be granted for the relevant water year. A permit holder may apply for a later deadline each year.
  • Approval to keep records of the volume of water taken each week
  • Approval to keep records using a device or system installed as near as practicable (rather than at) the site of the water take.

All approvals must be granted by written notice from the relevant council.

Implementation of regulations

The regulations apply with varying timeframes (see below). Councils are currently working through how the regulations will be applied.

The circumstances where exemptions can be provided are limited and you are encouraged to start looking at potential systems to comply with the regulations well in advance of the deadline applying to you.

Many councils have information about the regulations and implementation (in some cases listing potential suppliers of telemetry systems) on their websites.

Contact your council to discuss requirements on your farm and in your region.

Last updated: Aug 2023

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