WATER bills will not require someone to come and check the meter in future.
Tamworth Regional Council has voted to install high-tech automated water meter readers that give real-time readings of how much water has been used.
It will cost $16.6 million to replace the meters with new ones, that's an estimated extra spend of $700,000 across 15 years.
The council would spend $15.9 million replacing broken or old meters as it is.
At Tuesday's meeting, councillor Russell Webb asked for the decision on the automated water meter readers to be tabled until the 2021 to 2022 budget due to pressures on the council's financial position.
"I do believe ... this is a major expenditure and it really should be considered," he said.
"The amendment is the matter should be tabled and presented again with the 2021 budget estimates for consideration.
"When you look at the financials on this they don't stack up to me, I can't see the savings.
"The money is either going to be borrowed or coming out of the water fund in some shape or form, the report doesn't fill me with any excitement and I think the whole thing needs to be considered in its entirety with the council budget next year - I'm not comfortable with the report as present."
There was plenty of debate on the matter with councillors Helen Tickle and Juanita Wilson arguing the cost of the new meters would likely become more expensive if the council waited and the admin process would be simplified.
Cr Wilson said she felt the council needed to make the move to automated readers.
"In the long run it will not only save us money but it will save water," she said.
"It will help residents where they are using exorbitant water to be identified and tracked.
"It can help us identify misuse of water because it provides real time readings."
Automated meter readers have become the norm in a number of councils, Narrabri Shire Council implemented them in 2017 and Gunnedah Shire Council installed them 2019.