24 October 2022

New water usage rates for Christchurch: How it works, who it affects, and who is exempt from these fees

Cavell Leitch


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High water consumption households in Christchurch will now be invoiced based on their metered water usage.
New Zealand Energy and Natural Resources
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Christchurch City Council has recently created a new water usage rate which means that high water consumption households will now be invoiced based on their metered water usage. This change took effect on 1 October 2022.

New Charges

Each household is allocated 700 litres of water usage per day. Once a household exceeds their allocation they will incur charges of $1.35 per 1000 litres of additional usage. Your water meter will be read by the Council each quarter and the property owner will be invoiced for any excess usage, although this will only be payable if your quarterly bill exceeds $25.00. The Council website has a water report search tool so you can check the current water usage for your property. We have provided a link to this tool here.

Applications in Special Circumstances

There are three circumstances where property owners can apply for a remission for their excess water usage charges. The Council asses these on a case-by-case basis. They are:

  1. If there is a leak at your property which has resulted in unexpected high water usage and charges. However, in order to qualify for this remission, the property owner will also need to provide evidence that the water leak has been repaired promptly. Because of this we recommend checking your current water usage using the search tool linked above and making further investigations if your usage is unexpectedly high.
  2. If you have more than eight family members living in a single household you can apply for a remission which, if successful, would increase the 700 litre daily allowance for your property. This remission only applies to large families and does not extend to more than eight people living in a household as flatmates or boarders.
  3. If you can show that your water usage is only high due to a personal medical condition.

Residential Tenancies

Under the Residential Tenancies Act all fixed water charges, rates and insurance premiums are payable by the landlord. However, the tenant is responsible for paying any additional water charges which are incurred based on the tenant's metered water usage (unless the tenancy agreement states otherwise).

This means that although the new excess water usage bills will generally be recoverable from the tenant, if you are a landlord it is still your responsibility to pay the invoice upfront. Once you have paid the excess water bill you can contact your tenant to request a reimbursement.

Shared Water Meters

It is common for cross lease and unit title properties to have a shared water meter. If you share a water meter, it is not possible for the Council to attribute water usage to your specific property and you will not receive any charges for excess water usage until a separate water meter is installed for solely your property.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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