Water supply

Water shutdowns

Follow water shutdowns on Council's Twitter account at twitter.com/nelsoncitynz

Where our water comes from

The Council takes water from the Maitai and Roding Rivers, to supply urban and rural areas of the city from Saxton Field to The Glen. The catchments are owned and managed by the Council to protect the quality of the city's water supplies.

In August 2004 Council completed a $26 million project to install a membrane filtration plant which treats both Roding and Maitai supplies.The water is treated by a state of the art microfiltration plant which achieves an A grading.  

Find out more about Nelson's water treatment plant

Water quality

Nelson's water supply and distribution quality is assessed every year by the Ministry of Health. They look at two things:

  • Water supply quality (how good is the water at the source, after any  treatment)
  • Water distribution system quality (how good is the water when it arrives at the tap)

The Ministry of Health suggests that the minimum water supply grading for a community with more than 10,000 residents be:

  • Level 'B' for source and treatment
  • Level 'a' for distribution

Nelson's water quality at the most recent assessment, in 2011, was:

  • Level 'A' for source and treatment (completely satisfactory, extremely low level of risk)
  • Level 'b' for distribution (satisfactory, very low level of risk)

Works underway in next few years – providing additional storage, backflow protection and a duplicate Maitai pipeline – should maintain the current grading and may lead to a higher grading for our water quality.

Find out more

For more information on Nelson's water planning, see the Water Supply Asset Management Plan.

Read more about Nelson's water treatment plant.


Find out what the current water charges are.

Change of ownership

If you are selling your house or section it will be necessary to request a special water meter reading. This special reading is normally requested by the seller's solicitor but it is always best to check with your solicitor to ensure the request has been made.

Once the reading has been taken by the council an account can be finalised for seller and an account started for the new owners on the day the property settles.  

Click here for information on the special reading charge.

Please note the council do not take special water meter readings for changes of tenants in residential properties. This is the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.  Read below for advice for landlords and residential tenants.

Water leaks on private property and the leak test

Did you know water leaks on private property are your responsibility?

Check for a water leak easily.

Council maintenance responsibilities

The Council is responsible for maintaining the public water supply system up to and including the toby (shut-off valve) on the street boundary. This marks Council's point of supply.

Council will repair a leaking toby and the pipework on our side of the toby. The pipework on the private side, including the connection to the toby is the landowners responsibility.

In some situations (e.g. driveways and right of ways) one privately owned pipe has been used to serve more than one property. To ensure every property is separately metered, we have had to place water meters in private property on the individual pipe to each property. If any problems or leaks occur within the meter box, or on the connection to it, this is our responsibility.

The portion of pipe between the meter box and the toby on the street boundary is still privately owned. Any leak that occurs is the joint responsibility of the landowners served by the pipe.

Forecast demand for future drinking water

In March 2010 Council reported that the Auditor General declared Nelson's water system well placed for the future. The report said our current drinking water system is well managed and able to meet future forecast demand. We are only one of three local authorities that is effectively managing drinking water supply and planning for the future.

To view the report, visit the oag website.

How can you save water?

You will be able to make savings on 'DISCRETIONAL' water use - the non-essentials around your home and garden. Water savings are about preventing waste, the more water you save, the less you will pay. Just taking note of a few simple tips will save you money AND save a little water.

Find out more about how you can conserve water.

Advice for landlords and residential tenants

Payment of water accounts for tenanted properties

The payment of a water account to Nelson City Council is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant.  All correspondence will be addressed to the person to whom the water and rates invoices are sent.  Therefore any owner that uses a property manager will need to pass on all relevant information.

Please be aware Nelson City Council staff are not permitted to give tenants any information about water accounts and will not be responsible for sorting out any tenant payments or payments disputes.

Landlords charging tenants for water

Landlords of residential properties in the City wishing to pass the cost of water onto their tenants can only do this if, at the start of the tenancy, it was stated in the Tenancy Agreement that the tenants will pay for metered water supplied to the premises.

If the tenancy started before 1 December 1996 then the landlord will not be able to charge the tenant for water. This is because the law was changed on this date and tenancies already existing retained the provisions in the old Section 39 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

If two or more tenancies are served by only one meter, the landlord cannot apportion the water usage among the residential tenants without installing separate meters.

The Daily Line Charge is a targeted rate under section 19 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 and has the same legal basis as a rate. The Residential Tenancy Act 1986 requires landlords to pay any rates levied on the premises.

What to do at the start of a tenancy

If the tenant is to pay for metered water this must be stated in the Tenancy Agreement. The water meter reading (black numbers only) should be written on the Tenancy Agreement in the place provided.

Paying for water during the tenancy

Every six months the Council will issue a water bill to the landlord. A copy of this account (both sides) should be provided to the tenant or property manager if they are to pay for any water. The tenant should pay the landlord for the cost of any water used. It is then the landlord's responsibility to pay the Council for the Daily Line charge and tenant's water used i.e. the total water account.

What to do when the tenancy ends

The landlord and tenant should read the meter (black numbers only) on the day the tenancy ends and agree on the final reading. A calculation will need to be made to work out what the tenant will pay for water used.

We acknowledge the assistance of Tenancy Services in providing this information.