Water Meter Webpage
Why measure your water take and use?
The increasing demand for water by agriculture, industry, urban users, and recreation makes proper management and conservation of our water supplies increasingly important. Proper management of water use requires an understanding of how much water systems use.
Water meters, when properly installed and maintained, are the most accurate and easiest method for measuring water flow.
Measuring your water use can help you to:
- Improve irrigation water use efficiency by accurately measuring how much water is applied
- Determine pumping efficiency to allow water to be supplied as inexpensively as possible
- Detect potential well, pump or irrigation system problems
- Identify if you are complying with your consent conditions.
The Marlborough District Council uses the water take and use data to:
- Keep track of and make efficient use of water allocation
- Monitor compliance with consent conditions
- Understand water resources and eco systems responses to pumping
- Plan for future economic growth of communities in a sustainable way.
Current resource consent conditions
All Marlborough water permits have conditions that have to be met before water can be taken.
Conditions that need to be met will include how water taken is to be measured, the type of record of water take that must be kept and how and when that record must be sent to Council.
There may be other conditions specific to your situation. Please ensure all conditions are met before water is taken.
If you need help interpreting your consent conditions or need a copy of your consent conditions, please contact Council for assistance.
New Government Regulations
The regulations set bottom line requirements for the installation, maintenance, recording and reporting of water take information to Council.
The bottom line requirements of the regulations require consented takes of greater than 5 litres per second to:
- Install a suitable measuring device that is sealed and tamper proof and is capable of a pulse output.
- For full pipe systems, ensure measuring is accurate to within +/- 5 % of the actual volume taken and+/- 10 % for other takes.
- Verification of meter accuracy must be undertaken by qualified persons initially and then every five years.
- Continuously measure water take, including zero readings and collate records on a daily basis (a daily reading).
- Report the information to Council annually in a form suitable for electronic storage.
The regulations allow existing permit holders, and those renewing their permits, to transition towards compliance over a period of six years dependant on daily take volumes.
New water permit holders whose take is greater than 5 litres/second had to comply with the new regulations from 10 November 2010.
The table below outline the compliance timeframes for existing permit holders.
|Flow Rate Thresholds||Compliance Date|
|20 l/s and greater||10 November 2012|
|10 l/s up to 19.9 l/s||10 November 2014|
|5 l/s up to 9.9 l/s||10 November 2016|
|Less than 5 l/s||Not covered by regulations|
Consented takes of less than 5 litres per second are not covered by the national regulations, although Council is bringing all permits in line with the regulations as they come up for renewal.
The new water metering regulations do not remove the need to comply with your current permit conditions.
Consent conditions vs. New Government Metering Regulations
Where there are similar conditions in both the regulations and existing permit, the stricter of the two must be followed.
For example; the regulations stipulate all consent holders must keeping a daily record of water take and report these readings annually to Council. If your existing permit conditions stipulate; weekly recording of water take and reporting monthly to Council.
In this situation you must follow the daily recording from the regulations and, monthly reporting condition from your permit.
If you need help interoperating your consent conditions and/or the regulations, please contact Council for assistance.
Irrigation New Zealand Blue Tick Accreditation Programme
In partnership with councils, industry and the Ministry for the Environment, Irrigation New Zealand has developed The Water Measurement and Reporting Industry Accreditation Programme (Blue Tick Programme) to give permit holders greater certainty that service providers will deliver services that meet industry best practice, comply with the regulations and meet permit conditions.
Blue Tick approved Installers, Verifiers and Data Hosts
It is not mandatory to engage a Blue Tick contractor to install your meter or host your data. If you choose to do your own meter installation or logger and telemetry installation you will be required to have your installation/s inspected by Council staff. This inspection is at the permit holders expense.
An installation certificate is required to be filled in and returned to Council. If a Blue Tick approved installer is used, there is no need for Council staff to inspect the installation, and the installer will do the required paperwork.
Please contact Council before any water is taken to ensure your Blue Tick installer has provided suitable documentation to Marlborough District Council that declares the meter and/or data logger and telemetry (where required) are installed and verified in accordance with industry best practice, government water metering regulations and/or council permit conditions.
Council still holds the right to inspect all installations as part of ongoing auditing and compliance processes.
Your meter may also be randomly chosen for audit processes by Irrigation New Zealand, but these costs are not passed onto you.
Verification of water meter accuracy
Marlborough District Council requires all meter verifications to be undertaken by an approved Blue Tick provider.
Verification is the process of proving the accuracy of the installed meter. A brand new high quality meter still needs to have a verification test performed because a good meter can be installed badly or be programmed incorrectly.
The most common method of testing undertaken in Marlborough is using a purpose built test rig. A test rig generally consists of a very accurate meter and associated pipe work that has been certified in an Auckland test lab.
The process for testing in simple terms requires all water that is pumped to pass through the meter being tested and the rig meter. The results are compared and a pass/fail certificate is issued.
Other verification methods are available to be used but these other methods need approval from Council on an as-needed basis. Your preferred service provider will contact Council if an alternative method of testing is required.
After verification is completed a verification certificate must be returned to Council. If the meter is a new meter or a logger and/or telemetry have been installed, an installation form will be needed for these. Forms are sent to Council by the company performing the verification or installations, a copy should also be provided to the permit holder.
There are currently five organisations performing verifications in Marlborough:
If you wish to use a different service provider than those listed above, please contact Council to discuss the other available options.
Installing a meter
Installation of water meters in accordance with the manufacturer’s written specifications is necessary for a water-meter to be as accurate as claimed by the manufacturer.
A Blue Tick registered service provider will not install a new meter unless it is installed to manufacturer's specifications or better.
Every design has a certain tolerance to disturbed flow conditions in the pipe. Proper pipe work provides a normal or non-disturbed flow pattern ensuring the measuring device operates as specified and performance criteria are met.
For water meters to operate correctly the flow upstream and downstream of the flow-meter must be as free as possible from obstructions, such as butterfly valves, flow switches, elbows etc., as they cause incorrect measurement of flow and induce errors.
Manufacturer’s installation requirements must be followed at all times. If unsure of required pipe installation requirements it is recommended a minimum length of ten (10) diameters of straight unobstructed pipe must be fitted on the intake side of the meter and a minimum of five (5) diameters of straight unobstructed pipe on the discharge of the meter.
Figure 1: Standard pipe run
In circumstances where it is impractical to install a meter with the same diameter of pipe work, reducers with concentric tapers may be used. However, this is conditional on the use of a 6 to 1 ratio taper followed by a minimum length of ten (10) diameters of straight pipe fitted on the intake side of the meter and a minimum of five (5) diameters of straight pipe on the discharge of the meter, followed by a 6 to 1 ratio taper back out to the existing pipe work to minimize flow disturbance.
Figure 2: Reduced pipe run
A water meter may be fitted onto a vertical pipe work (as usually found in wells) provided it is certified and endorsed by the manufacturer for that purpose.
Figure 3: Vertical pipe run
Figure 4: Vertical pipe run
Location of meter
Meters are to be located as close as practical to the point of extraction and preferably on the discharge side of the pump. If meter is to be installed on the suction side of the pump, it must be approved by the manufacturer for this purpose.
There must only be permitted off-takes of water between the point of extraction and the meter. (examples domestic, stock water and fire fighting outlets).
Butterfly valves and flow-switches installed in part of the pipe run that houses the flow meter, should be installed a minimum of 5 pipe diameters on the discharge side of the meter.
The meter must not be installed in a section of pipe where there may be air pockets or the pipe does not run full of water. If it is likely that air will become entrapped near the meter, an air valve must be installed upstream of the meter.
Any filtering equipment should be installed on the intake side of the meter. And >10 pipe diameters upstream.
Any backflow preventer should be installed on the discharge side of the meter and >5 pipe diameters downstream of the flow meter.
If the meter is non-mechanical (electro-magnetic) it is essential that the meter is earthed correctly as stated in the manufacture’s specifications.
The meter should be mounted in such a way that it allows for both easy access and reading of the display unit.
Where the potential for the meter is to be located in an aggressive environment, the meter shall be protected from risk of damage due to external environmental conditions (such as flooding, stock, corrosion etc.).
Where possible the meter should be installed above ground.
Commissioning is required to ensure the meter is ready for use and able to be verified as accurate. The commissioning process should be conducted by the water meter installer and consent holder.
Steps in the commissioning process should consist of those points listed below.
- Check that the instruments have been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Record initial flow meter reading at time of installation.
- The installer shall complete and return the Flow Meter Installation form to Marlborough District Council.
- Provide to Marlborough District Council a verification certificate stating that the meter’s installed accuracy is less or equal to +/-5% through the entire pumping rate.
Submitting your data
When your meter has been installed, you will need to record and submit your water take/use data to Council.
Please remember, the recording and reporting frequency of water take data to Council is dependent on conditions written into your consent and/or the water metering regulations. Always follow to the stricter of the two.
There are a number of ways that your water take/use can be reported.
- Manually record your water use and email to Council. Please note; this process is being phased out by the end of the 2014 irrigation season.
- Directly enter your data into Council's Water Meter Web Page via your own secure login.
- Or via Telemetry which will automatically record your take volume for you and transfer it directly to Council. Telemetered data can be viewed on the Water Meter Web Page.
Telemetry provides an economical and efficient method to access remote data instantly, saving time and costs by eliminating manual data collection, and assisting with reporting water take to Council.
Monitoring of water take is only one function of telemetry and the Marlborough District Council is encouraging users to explore the fully range of management tools made available through telemetry, by also monitoring soil moisture and pump status. Many systems are also able to send text and email alarms.
Marlborough District Council is not able to specify a particular supplier or system; we recommend that you talk to the Blue Tick registered providers to find out what functions and services they can provide you.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how best to report your usage to Council.
The water use web pages are continually being developed and updated, so please check back again to see any new initiatives and tools for water users.