Skip to main content

FAQs - Water meters and records

Keeping records for dairy shed water use

The water take rules in the Waikato Regional Plan (also known as variation 6) have been in place since April 2012.

It’s the regional council’s responsibility to ensure there is enough water in waterways to provide for such things as a healthy environment, that towns and businesses are catered for, electricity is generated efficiently, and farmers can work their land successfully.

To manage water resources in a sustainable manner, we need to estimate the quantity of water that can be safely pumped from an aquifer (the rocks which hold the water) or stream. We also need to know how much water is currently being taken out of the aquifer or stream and how efficiently it is being used.

Fitting water flow meters is the only reliable way of measuring water use accurately. A water flow meter can determine how efficiently water is being used, by comparing water use with production or the consent limit. It may also help identify a costly water leak – saving you both time and money.

I need to install a meter or report records

As the user of the resource it is your responsibility to know the requirements and conditions of the water take consent. If you no longer have a copy, please contact us and one will be provided. Water meters must be installed correctly so that they appropriately meter the water use.

When installing a mechanical water meter, the length of pipe before the meter should be 10 times the pipe diameter, and the length of straight pipe after the meter should be five times the pipe diameter. So, for a 25mm diameter pipe, there should be 250mm of straight pipe before the meter and 125mm of straight pipe after it. Not all meters require this straight length of pipe to function property. Check with your meter supplier if you are in any doubt about correctly fitting a meter – or which type of meter is best suited to your particular situation.

Diagram - correct water meter installation

Where can I get good advice about water metering?

The best place to get information is from an accredited service provider. These providers have had their water measurement skills and work place systems assessed by an independent assessment panel and have met the accreditation standard. They have also signed an agreement stating all their installations, verifications and data management services, from the date of accreditation, will be consistent with the New Zealand Water Measurement Code of Practice.

There is a register of accredited service providers on the irrigation accreditation website:

DairyNZ has some excellent tips and resources to help farmers with managing water use on-farm.

Why am I required to provide records?

In order to effectively manage a resource, you first have to understand it.

At present, our view on water use in the Waikato region is based largely on estimates backed up with statistical analysis. The data provided as a condition of your consent will enable us to better understand what the actual volume of water being taken throughout the region is.

As more is understood about the actual water use and when water is being taken, we will then be in a position to more effectively manage the resource. For example, this might be by identifying times of the year that some water users are not taking water, therefore allowing other users to access the water at these times.

What is telemetry?

To reduce the need for consent holders to manually read and record how much water they have used, we promote the electronic recording and automated forwarding of data by means of electronic water meters and telemetry systems. For more information about the potential of automating your system, please contact an accredited installer. If you’ve already installed telemetry you will need to speak to your data host to provide that information to council.

How do I take records?

Meter readings for your water take can be kept on paper, on a spreadsheet, through a data logger or telemetered directly to Waikato Regional Council. Please be aware that record keeping and providing this data are key conditions of your consent and compliance with this is your responsibility. Example of records:

Meter at Farm Bore #1
Date Days Meter reading Total Volume m³ Daily volume m³
2/4/2018 7 25610 x x
9/4/2018 7 25880 270 38.6
16/4/2018 7 26190 310 44.3
23/4/2018 7 26430 240 34.3
29/4/2018 6

How do I provide records to Waikato Regional Council?

    • Email:
    • Post to Waikato Regional Council, Attention: Farming Services
      Private Bag 3038
      Waikato Mail Centre
      Hamilton 3240
    • Electronic data reporting (telemetry).

We’re here to help

If you have any queries, please get in touch with the Farming Services. Email or phone 0800 800 402.