Proposed New Water Bylaw

20 January 2012

Late last year, the Council's Strategy and Policy Committee unanimously agreed to consult the public on a new water bylaw that will regulate a wide range of activities to do with providing water for Wellingtonians.

Save rainwater for a sunny day

Save rainwater for a sunny day

Now we need your views on a new way of managing the city's bulk water supply.

The proposed new bylaw would replace the existing bylaw and the Wellington Water Charter. Why the change? In short, our system has not proven to be as effective and compatible with our water conservation and efficiency strategies as it could.

Right now the way we manage our water relies on a mix of legislation and voluntary compliance. In some cases, our staff find it's delaying their work when addressing issues like leaks, wastage and restrictions.

The new bylaw will allow us to manage the establishment of new water connections, administer water policies, install water meters for commercial customers and enforce demand-management tools such as restrictions on usage and garden sprinkler operating hours.

In special circumstances - such as known unrepaired leaks, an investigation into excessive usage or blatant water wasting - it will allow us to install a water meter to measure usage and, if necessary, charge for the water wasted or consumed.

The Council's Three Waters and Waste Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ngaire Best, says the Council has no plans to introduce universal water meters and the new bylaw could ultimately save ratepayers money.

"I want to make it clear that we have no intention of introducing domestic universal meters," says Cr Best.

"What we do want to do, however, is give our staff the tools to deal with flagrant water wasters.

"This could ultimately save ratepayers money. The better we can manage our water supply, the less likelihood there is of having to borrow millions of dollars to build new lakes or dams.

"Installing a water meter to measure waste, and charging the person if they don't address the problem, is a last resort.

"We believe conservation is the best option, particularly in the current economic climate, as it allows us to defer the cost of building a new bulk storage facility."

Now we want your views, so make sure you have a say. Consultation starts today and runs until Friday 9 March.

Consultation documents are also available from our offices at 101 Wakefield Street or from your local library.