Christchurch, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — May 7, 2009 – Water metering on farms and by industry in the Canterbury region of New Zealand has taken a significant step forward.

The regional council for Canterbury, Environment Canterbury, is assisting water users in a fully allocated groundwater red zone to bring about cost effective water metering for their own zone, Rakaia-Selwyn, and later for the wider region.

Environment Canterbury is facilitating the process, requesting proposals to supply water measurement options as well as installation and servicing.

The zone’s classification as “red” indicates that demand for groundwater outstrips supply, putting existing consent holders’ water reliability of supply at risk as well as the environmental consequences of reduced flows in lowland streams.

As part of the zone’s consent review, water meters will be required at the water user’s cost on all consented groundwater takes to allow use of the resource to be measured and managed. The requirement is consistent with a proposed National Environmental Standard for water measurement.

A cluster group of around 30 farmers, representing 480 water resource consent holders in the Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone, have been discussing ways to best implement water metering and more sustainable water allocation for the past year or more.

Environment Canterbury water meter manager, John Young, says the process should provide a win-win for all parties.

“A joint approach ensures consent holders receive consistent supply and service to gather information and effectively manage and measure water resources. The preferred supplier will be responsible for the supply and/or installation of the technologies and will take responsibility for the ongoing service management with consent holders.”

To provide for groundwater zone management across Canterbury, Young says the preferred service providers will complete the Rakaia-Selwyn groundwater zone area initially before moving to provide the same service across other Canterbury groundwater allocation zones.