About a third of the Taranaki organisations that need to install water meters at their stream intakes have yet to do so.
Of those which have fitted the meters, more than half have not put them in properly, so they breach the Ministry for the Environment's national environmental standards (NES).
The country's businesses, organisations and farmers with consent to take more than 20 litres of water a second from rivers and streams were required to have installed accurate meters by November 10 last year.
Taranaki has 92 consent holders, including 53 industrial users and 39 golf clubs and agricultural users in that category.
The three months' grace given by the Taranaki Regional Council to consent holders to install the meters has expired and its inspectorate is checking compliance with the regulations, at the council's cost.
"So it's on the ratepayers," council environmental manager Keith Brodie said.
Non-compliant consent holders would receive abatement notices, followed by infringement notices if non-compliance continued.
Even though many of the new meters breached the regulations, the installation of the meters had gone better in Taranaki than expected, Brodie said.
He was surprised only 3 per cent of holders of consents to take more than 20 litres of water a second had made no effort to comply with the regulations.
"We have a high number of industrial water takers who have to make sure their businesses run efficiently. They have to be at the top of their game and they make sure their costs are low."
About half the consent holders had also fitted data loggers that continually recorded their water use.
In five to 15 years, the public and water users would value the water-metering regulations, Brodie said.
"There will be an accurate record of water use, which will allow fair and equitable use of what's a public resource."
During the lead-up to the requirement for water meters, Brodie discovered a misconception common among property owners, who said: "This is my water because it passes through my property".
Rather, water was a public resource and everyone had an equal right to its benefits, he said.
Altogether, about 200 holders of resource consents in Taranaki, including about 90 farmers, must comply with the new regulations, which require daily records to be kept and annual records of water use to be provided to the regional council.
Holders of consents to take 10 to 20 litres of water per second must install meters by November 10, 2014, and those using five to 10 litres per second must install them by November 10, 2016.
A small number of users - 6 per cent - had sought dispensation from the requirement to install a meter for reasons such as a buried pipeline delivered water to headworks up to a kilometre from the river or stream intake.
The council also expected to approve about 12 applications seeking dispensation from the NES because the installation of the meters complied with manufacturers' specifications.
- © Fairfax NZ News
There is a proposal for a $28m sporting complex at New Plymouth's TSB Stadium. Is that a want or a need?Related story: (See story)
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Choose an iconic Taranaki photo as wallpaper for your computer