Fuseworks Media

Water meters paying off for ratepayers – NPDC

Around half of New Plymouth District homes now have water meters, but the benefits are already flowing through for everyone.

NPDC was considering including a $4 million upgrade of the pump station and pipeline to keep up with water demand in the Urenui and Tikorangi water supply area, in its next 10-year plan.

With peak demand at 132 cubic metres (about 880 bathtubs full) each hour, it was on the volume threshold that would have required an upgrade. That investment has been put off for the foreseeable future – thanks to household water meters, which identified leaks, including one property using 60 cubic metres (about 450 bathtubs) a day.

With the leak fixed, peak demand in Urenui-Tikorangi has dropped to 102 cubic metres (680 bathtubs full) an hour, meaning the upgrade can be put off and the $4 million spend isn’t needed in this 10-Year Plan (2024-2034).

“We’ve installed about 13,000 meters out of the 26,000 as part of our $248m investment in Fixing our Plumbing reduce waste,” says NPDC Three Waters Manager Mark Hall.

Since February 2024, meters had identified and helped to stop leaks totalling 463 cubic metres a day, more than the total daily use for the whole of Ōkato and equivalent to about 68 Olympic swimming pools a year.

“We’re one of the thirstiest places in Aotearoa, using up to 60 per cent more water than places of a similar size, and that demand puts a huge strain on our 800km of aging drinking water pipes , some of which are more than 100 years old. “Locals use on average 288 litres per person per day in New Plymouth versus 222 litres across New Zealand,” he says.

Hall says water meters could help cut our water use by about 20 per cent by showing us how much we’re using and help to save on the district’s future plumbing bills.

Find out more about water meters at npdc.govt.nz/watermeters FAST FACTS:

Major leaks of greater than 30 cubic metres a day have been found and fixed in four properties in Ōkato, Tikorangi, Glen Avon and Strandon.

Right now, most households pay a flat rate for water regardless of how much they use. Our residential water use of 288 litres per person per day is higher than the national average in New Zealand (222 litres). Source: 2021 National Performance Review, Water NZ.

Our average daily water use is 50 per cent higher than in Hamilton, Waipā, Palmerston North, Whangārei and Stratford.

The law stops anyone making a profit on water supply, so we can only cover our treatment and delivery costs.

We are investing $248m over 10 years to fix the district’s plumbing.


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