From 1 July 2022, households that regularly use much more water than the average will pay an excess water supply targeted rate.

Read the decision announcement(external link) about the excess water supply targeted rate(external link).

How it will work

The targeted rate will apply to any single household with a water meter that uses, on average, more than 700 litres a day – roughly equivalent to 100 toilet flushes or taking seven baths. Property owners in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula will pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1,000 litres they use over the average limit.

Water use will be recorded and billed for on a quarterly basis (roughly every 90 days). This rate will help cover the extra cost of pumping and delivering water through our supply network to those households that regularly use far more than the average.

Generally, the property owner or the same person who receives the property's rates invoice will also receive the excess water supply invoice. Most properties in Christchurch won’t receive a charge. There will not be a reduction in your rates for using less water.

Where multiple households are served by a single water meter, we won’t invoice them until separate meters can be installed, unless there is a special agreement in place specifying which household/ratepayer is responsible for payment.

Why we’re introducing the excess water supply targeted rate

The main reason for the new rate is to help reduce the extreme demand on our water supply network at certain times, particularly during the summertime. If we can do this, it means we won't have to spend as much money on upgrading and building new infrastructure.

When other parts of the country have put in place similar charges they’ve seen a reduction in water use of 20 to 30 per cent. Currently, the top 20 per cent of household water users in Christchurch use more than 50 per cent of the city’s entire residential water supply. We think it’s fair that if they want to keep using lots of water, then they should help with the higher costs involved in supplying it.


There are some exemptions to the excess water supply targeted rate, such as:

  • Unexpected high use due to a leak, upon proof the leak has been repaired promptly
  • Personal circumstances, such as medical conditions. 

The average annual water use for households in Christchurch is 540 litres per day. This is already significantly higher than the household average for other major New Zealand cities. We arrived at 700 litres per day based on the latest Census data, including average household water use and the average number of occupants per household in Christchurch.

Later this year we'll be rolling out a way for people to easily check their quarterly water use online. In the meantime, you can check your own water meter, (external link)email or call us on 941 8999 (0800 800 169) and we can confirm your water usage. 

Water meter accuracy

Water meters are built to remain accurate for many years, and the data we’ve collected from thousands of meters over the years supports this. As they age, they tend to slightly under-read, not over-read. This means that if you have an older water meter and you trigger the excess water use targeted rate, you’re likely paying for less water use rather than more. 

The Council isn’t required to regularly test or calibrate water meters, but you can request a calibration of your meter if you believe it isn’t accurate. If we test the meter but find it’s still accurate, then you must cover the cost of the calibration testing. If we test and find the meter is not accurate, then we will cover the costs of the testing and the repair or replacement of the meter.

The most accurate way to know whether you have a leak is to check your water meter. This is done by first making sure no water is turned on anywhere on your property. Then you can go ahead and check your meter. We've got an online guide on how to check for and report leaks(external link).

If a leak is discovered on your property, it’s up to you to get this fixed as soon as possible. The Council is responsible for pipes and fittings up to your property’s boundary.


Visit the Government's Tenancy Services website(external link) for information about tenants and their water use.

Farm irrigators and water-bottling plants aren’t connected to the Council’s water supply network (they have their own water supplies), so they won’t be affected by the excess water supply targeted rate.


Let’s say a household uses, on average, 1,200 litres of water per day during a billing period.

We know the average daily limit is 700 litres per day, so the household's average use is 500 litres more per day than the limit.

Calculated over a 90-day billing period, this works out to be 45,000 litres more than the limit of 63,000 litres.

The excess charge is $1.35 for every 1,000 litres used over the limit, so 45,000 extra litres is equal to 45 x $1.35, a total charge of $60.75.