Water use data charges – what you need to know

If you have a current consent to take water in Canterbury, you’ll have received a letter from us informing you of upcoming charges for water use.

This is an annual fixed fee of $230 charged to each consent to take water over 5 litres per second, and covers the previous water season from July 2019 to June 2020. Every water take consent that is required to submit data is subject to this charge.

Keeping an eye on our water resources

Canterbury’s alpine braided rivers carry billions of litres of water from the Southern Alps to the sea, recharging underground aquifers along the way.

This water has important value as an amenity for recreational, economic and cultural use, so we need to be careful how we manage the water in our rivers and below ground.

With wide plains and proximity to fresh water sources, it’s unsurprising that almost two-thirds of the country’s irrigated land is in Canterbury, and ensuring that our water resources are sustainably managed comes at a cost.

What’s expected of us

Water userFrom 2016, the Ministry for the Environment required all consents that take more than 5 litres of water per second to have an independently verified water meter installed, which provides an accurate record of water use to the regional council.

More recent regulations that took effect in September 2020 mean that over the next six years, if you have a consent to take more than 5 litres a second, you will need to ensure you have a water meter that is capable of measuring water use every 15 minutes, and this data will need to be sent to us.

What does the charge pay for?

Our staff receive, process and store telemetry data from thousands of water use consents across the region – from Kaikoura down to the Waitaki River. This information needs to be verified, processed, stored, and assessed for compliance.

The water use data charge represents what carrying out this work costs us. Over the past few years, these costs have been absorbed through general rates. By charging directly, we’re moving to a user-pays model of water charges, which allows us to focus on ensuring water users comply with their consents.

If you’re a consent holder with a good history of compliance, then you may become eligible for a reduction in compliance monitoring, resulting in significantly reduced monitoring charges.

We’re here to help

Invoices for the July 2019-June 2020 year will be sent between March and June 2021.

The Water Use Charges page on our website has detailed information surrounding this charge, and you can talk to your local land management advisor or call us on 0800 324 636 for more information.