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11 MAY 2010
$3.50 (incl GST)
On a winning roll
NEW regulations requiring all signifi-
cant water takes to be metered will
have a significant financial impact on
Environment Minister Nick Smith recently
announced the measures which are to
improve water management.
He said it was estimated 31 per cent of
water takes nationally were metered. Under
the new regulations, that would rise to 98
per cent by 2016.
The regulations would not apply to small
takes under 5 litres/sec, which is equivalent
to the water used by about 250 households.
"We can't even begin to manage water
properly in New Zealand when we have so
little information on how much is extracted
The regulations will take effect from July 1
in stages requiring takes over 20 litres/sec
to be metered by 2012, those over 10
litres/sec by 2014 and those over 5
litres/sec by 2016.
Dr Smith said water was estimated to be
worth more than $5 billion a year to the
economy. "Water is a public resource, and it
is quite reasonable for Government to
require those who use it to pay for measur-
ing and reporting how much they take."
He said a national regulation was a far
more efficient way of getting water mea-
sured than leaving the decision and timing
up to individual regional councils.
The total cost of the regulations to about
11,000 affected consent holders is estimat-
ed at $40 million. The initial capital cost of
meters and installation is estimated at
$2855 to $9635 depending on the size of
water take, with higher costs for bigger
On top of that is an annual cost of $200 for
data download, processing and provision of
data to councils, plus calibration costs
every five years of between $425 and $2200.
Irrigation New Zealand (INZ) chief execu-
tive Andrew Cur tis said INZ strongly sup-
ported a national regulation as part of a
wider programme to improve water man-
agement. "You can't manage water if you
don't measure it."
Leaving regulation up to regional councils
would have meant that only new consents
or renewals could be regulated and the
process would have take over 25 years.
Mr Curtis said for meters on pipes the
accuracy requirement was for plus or minus
5 per cent, and in open channels plus or
minus 10 per cent.
"These are both sensible and internation-
ally accepted levels of accuracy."
INZ would work with Government and
regional councils to implement an industr y-
led standard for water meter installation
ON some ne
al costs, but for
who have cons
number of sou
Morrow has multiple p
cost close to $30,000 to meter a
He believes farmers will not be averse
to metering as long as there is some flexi-
bility over installation "because the reali-
ty of retrofitting all existing pumps is
going to be a big ask for the service sec-
"Clearly there'll be some ongoing costs,
and irrigators will be wanting to see the
information used for the good of the irri-
Gregor Mackenzie, who runs an irrigat-
ed cattle fattening and cropping opera-
tion in the Culverden basin of North
Canterbur y, also has multiple water
takes, but no metering.
"It's a moot point whether it's good or
bad. I don't think it's a bad thing, but it'
He has two piped su
Amuri Irrigation Schem
supply and one water c
He said most irrigators
Scheme were probably no
although some of the newe
be.The Barrhill-Chertsey Irrig
Scheme, under construction
Canterbur y, has meters insta
maintained by the company, s
chairman John Wright said.
"Very few schemes around ac
measure what they are deliveri
vidual farmers. It's an important
the management of our scheme."
Chairman of Waimakariri Irrigat
North Canterbur y Richard Allison
the bulk of the scheme's water was
already metered, although there we
quite a few lifestylers on the scheme
takes under the 5 litres/sec threshol
The scheme began in 1999 and irrig
--- Howard Kee
Water metering 'costly'
Right: Nor th
metering will be
costly for him.
Irrigation NZ chief
executive Andrew Curtis
strongly supports new
Several reasons to
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