Water Quantity Charges FAQ

How much of the research am I funding?

The total annual science and research cost to Horizons, including charges for fixed equipment, computer software, laboratory costs, staffing and research agency fees is $4.071 million.  Thirty percent of this cost is funded by consent holders through the research charges, with the balance being funded through the General Rate.

2.      How often is this research fee charged?

The charge is levied each year unless the consent is cancelled, or expires, or is transferred.

3.      To what period does my invoice refer, and how often are invoices sent?

 Your invoice refers to the 12 month period 1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016. These invoices are issued annually, midway through the invoiced period (mid to late January each year).

4.      How are the charges calculated?

The charges are set out in the 2015-16 Long Term Plan.  All holders of permits for surface and groundwater takes are charged a $30 fixed fee, plus a rate of $0.38 (38 cents) per cubic metre of the authorised maximum daily (not annual) water take volume (as documented in the resource consent).

NOTE:  1.  Charges in the Annual Plan are GST excluded. 2. Following the migration of consents data to IRIS and reconciliation / corrections in the system the charged rate for surface and groundwater takes was reduced from 41 cents per metre extracted (in the LTP) to 38 cents per cubic metre.

5.      You have based my charges on the maximum authorised daily water take in my resource consent, however I do not take water  my maximum allowance.

The terms of your current consent ensure that your right for the full water take amount is reserved.  All such charges are based on the maximum authorised daily allowance regardless of the actual volume that the consent holder may choose to take.  You may wish to consider varying your consent to a lower consented volume in order to reduce these research charges in the future.  This would require a variation to your consent.

6.     I never use my water take so why are you charging me?

As the holder of a current resource consent, you have established the right to take your specified volume of water.  Council policy stipulates that all such charges are based on the maximum authorised daily allowance, regardless of the actual volume that the consent holder chooses to take.  If you wish to give up your right to take water, you have the option of surrendering your resource consent, in which case future research charges would not apply.  However, if you then choose to resume taking water in the future, you would have to go through the consent application process again.

7.      How much have my charges changed since last year?

The fixed fee ($30) and the charge per cubic metre taken (38 cents) remain the same as last year.  The charges for hydro schemes have risen slightly.

8.      Why are there two consent numbers on my Invoice this year?   Am I being billed twice for each consent I hold?

You have two or additional consent numbers on your Invoice because we have moved to a new Consents database – this required all existing consents to be renumbered.  To avoid confusion we have included both numbers (old and new) in this years Invoice so that you are aware of the new number.   

 No, you are only billed for the consent/s that you previously had – there is no double billing.

 Your consent/s is shown on your Invoice as: New Consent No ATH-1993000762.00 (formerly 3381)

9.      Why do I have to pay?

Council has determined that consent holders receive some private benefit from the research that is carried out.

 The individual compliance fee (separately charged) covers the costs of monitoring a holder’s individual consent.

 The research charges contribute towards the costs incurred by Horizons in researching and identifying the cumulative impact on our environment of all such activities across our region.  Information gained from this research can also be used by applicants during the resource consent application process.

 This research is essential for our many regional organisations, farms and other industries, all of which are dependant on this information.  Further, the findings enable us to continue to provide communities and users with ongoing services, including water for recreational use, clean drinking water and a healthy habitat for native fish. 

 By maintaining and further developing knowledge of our region’s natural resources, the interests of the consent holder, the needs of the wider regional community and the resource itself are all protected.


10.    How can I have my say regarding these charges? 

Research charges are determined by Horizons Regional Council’s elected Councillors following a public consultation process.

You can make submissions on Council’s Draft Annual Plan during the consultation process generally in the first third of each year, and during the three-yearly Long-Term Council Community Plan consultation process.  For further information on how to get involved, please contact Customer Services at Horizons on Phone  0508 800 800.  

11.    What do I get for my money?

Water quantity, surface and groundwater resources are managed to ensure there is an adequate supply for consent holders, the wider community and for aquatic wildlife.

By researching the effects of all current resource consents, including your own, the Council is able to ensure that such consents can be effectively maintained, whilst sustainably managing the environment both now and for the future. 

12.    What about those people who benefit from this research but are not charged this fee?

All ratepayers, both rural and residential, fund a total of 70% of the research costs through the general rating system.


13.    Why isn’t this fee also being charged to my neighbour?

If you believe that your neighbour should also be liable for this charge, please provide full details and we will investigate this matter.


14.     Who can I contact for more information?

  • General queries about the charge itself

e.g. "Why has this charge been introduced?"

Reception/call centre (freephone 0508 800 800) then transferred to the Scientists duty phone (Ext 815) staffed by Harold Barnett, James Lambie or Amy Shears.


  • Questions about the invoice

e.g. “I need more time to pay”.

Reception/call centre (freephone 0508 800 800) then transferred to Ebonee McDavitt in Accounts.


  • Questions related to the actual consent

e.g. “I no longer own this property/consent.” or “I surrendered by consent last year”.

Reception/call centre (freephone 0508 800 800) then transferred to Pita Kinaston on 5841 or 0212277448.