Water leaks and the leak test

Used more water than you thought?

Check for a water leak today!

Did you know water leaks within the property are your responsibility?  If you think that you might have a leak, this is how you can easily check:

Step 1

Ensure no water is being used within the property boundary, e.g. toilet cistern or hot water header tank filling up, washing machine / dishwasher running through a cycle, or garden hose running.

Step 2

Locate your water meter – this is in the black plastic box usually located near the front outside boundary of the property. If your property is on a cross lease or down a right of way, the meter is often located nearer the house, on a private supply line. 

Our Customer Service Helpline +64 3 546 0200 can help if you have trouble locating the meter box.

Step 3

Look to see if any of the dials on the meter are moving.  If they are, and you are sure no water is being used, this is a good indication that there is a leak somewhere on your property. The best dials to check are the red ones as indicated on the two different types of water meters below.

SOCAM water meter

Kent water meter

Step 4

Check for signs of where the leak may be around your property:

  • water appearing on concrete or sealed areas
  • a boggy patch in the lawn or garden
  • dripping overflow pipe
  • leaking tap inside or outside
Step 5

Call a plumber of your choice to have your leak repaired. If your supply pipes are old you should consider having them all replaced to avoid ongoing problems. This is especially important for the underground pipes as it can often be difficult to see leaks when the water drains away.

These are simple tests that are easy to do.  If you really feel unable to check this yourself perhaps you could get a friend or relative to help you. Please be aware that not all leaks go through the meter.  For example, leaks in the right of way to your property can still be your responsibility.

Once your leak has been fixed

It is possible to have your account reassessed after you have had your leak fully repaired. For more information visit the requesting a water credit or rebate page.

Do you own a rental property?

Please be aware that as the property owner, you, not the tenant, are responsible to Nelson City Council for payment of the water account. All correspondence will be addressed to the person to whom the water and rates invoices are sent, so should you have a property manager, you as the owner will need to pass on all relevant information.

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 payment disputes.

Finally, please remember.....

No one wants to waste water.  A dripping tap can waste over 1,000 litres (one cubic metre) of water a week, while an average 5kg washing machine uses about 120 litres for a wash. A leak in a pipe can waste over 1,000 litres of water a day.


The following are things we can all do to prevent water being lost by leaks:

  • Check your meter regularly when you believe no water is currently being used. If the dials are moving you may have a leak.
  • Replace any old or damaged pipes and fittings before they start to fail.
  • When you are going away turn your water off or if that is not possible make sure you have someone check your property every 1-2 days. Be sure they know what to do if a problem develops.

If we all do the above and check our properties on a regular basis, we will help prevent water being wasted which is a big help to everyone.

Council appreciates being notified of any excess water wastage or leaks that you may have noted through the city.