Urban water security: Assessing the impacts of metering and pricing in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Managing water
will be a murky challenge
without the data


The use of water management tools, such as water metering and pricing, are likely to become increasingly important for addressing urban water security in Aotearoa New Zealand. Yet little is known about the impacts of metering and pricing on residential consumption across Aotearoa using data collected from public channels.


Through the LGOIMA and OIA process, we attempt to collect data on residential water use from 67 local councils across Aotearoa to understand the impact of metering and pricing on consumption. Our data collection process reveals extensive urban water data gaps in Aotearoa, with clear implications for public accountability and efficient and effective water services reform.


By combining a series of complementary data sets, we do present some preliminary analysis that suggests metering and pricing does incentivise water conservation in Aotearoa. Given this, it is likely urban areas investing in, and using, metering and pricing will be more able to respond to the growing pressures on water supplies from population increases, climate change, and ageing infrastructure over time.


Benison, Thomas and Julia Talbot-Jones. 2023. “Urban water security: Assessing the impacts of metering and pricing in Aotearoa New Zealand". Motu Working Paper 23-11. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Wellington, New Zealand.


DOI: doi.org/10.29310/WP.2023.11


Aotearoa Foundation