Water use charges

Water userCanterbury’s braided rivers bring water from the mountains across the plains, recharging aquifers and providing the water that we use for drinking, agriculture and industry. 

It’s our job to ensure this water is being managed in a way that protects the environment while sustaining the local economy.

Water use consents

A consent is required to take water from surface water or groundwater. National regulations require that Canterbury water users with a consent to take more than five litres per second, must install a water measurement device and provide telemetered data to us each year.

Find out more about the consent process.

What are the charges for?

IrrigatorWhile we don’t charge for the water you use, we still incur significant costs for things like receiving, processing and storing water use data; checking and verifying river flow data; and checking for consent compliance. Charges are designed to recover these costs.

We updated our fees and charges policy in 2019, moving towards a more user-pays model.

This included changes to the way we charge for a number of processes related to water take consents. These include:

  • the introduction of a water use data charge for processing water use data
  • new rates for the way we charge for compliance monitoring
  • enforcement action for absent or incomplete data.

What will it cost?

We now charge an annual fixed fee for water use data processing of $230 per consent. This will cover the cost of receiving, verifying and storing water use data.

If you are subject to these charges, you will receive an invoice from us covering the July to June water year. If your consent is to take less than 5 litres per second and have not been requested to submit data, then there will be no charge.

For further information, please see our frequently asked questions below, or get in touch with your local water zone team or call us on 0800 324 636.

More information

Why am I being charged for water use?

We now charge a fixed annual fee for receiving and verifying water use data.

Why has the water use data charge come about?

Staff spend a great deal of time administering the information that is being received recording and verifying water use data. Previously, this was a cost borne from general rates. We have moved to a user-pays system, where the consent holder is charged the cost associated with water use data.

Will I receive any other charges for my water use consent?

It’s possible. The annual charge covers the cost of receiving and verifying data. It does not cover compliance monitoring.

If we conduct compliance monitoring, you could be charged for the cost of

  • staff time to carry out an inspection
  • auditing any monitoring information provided by you
  • reporting back outcomes to you of any compliance monitoring and
  • where necessary, conducting laboratory testing, as well as travel costs.

Consent holders who have a history of compliance and submitting complete and reliable water use data are less likely to incur compliance monitoring charges.

I have a waiver. Will I still be charged?

No, if your consent has a waiver, you will not be required to submit water use data, and therefore, you won't incur a charge for that consent while the waiver is valid. Please note that temporary waivers must meet guidelines and you need a valid reason for not using this bore.

I'm not using my consent or bore. Why am I still being charged?

Unless you have a waiver, you are still required to submit data and will be subject to charges. However, you can apply for a temporary waiver, partial surrender or change of consent condition. These will incur separate fees.

My consent has been transferred. Why am I still being charged?

The consent holder who sent in the water data will receive charges, so if your consent has been transferred since water data was submitted, you will still receive an invoice. 

My consent was only activated for part of the water year, or I submitted data for only part of the year. Why am I being charged the full fee?

The fees for water data and low flow monitoring are fixed annual fees. If you are subject to these fees for at least part of the billing year, you will be charged the full fixed fee.

I’m part of a scheme or irrigation collective. Can you split costs across our consent?

No, unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to split charges, so we charge per consent. If your scheme or collective wishes to divide costs, that is something they will have to organise.