A pristine, private well in Christchurch will begin charging for the first time in eight years after some users started taking more than their fair share.
The well, which is on the Lotus at Siam Thai Day Spa, had been providing clean, unchlorinated water for the community since the 2010 earthquake.
Water was free for everyone with the owner covering the cost of compliance, including a food-grade pipe, regular water tests and soon a UV filter.
Owner Duncan Laing had asked for donations to help cover the extras, but the request was largely ignored.
Instead, he says tankers would come in the night and take hundreds of litres of water at a time, and it was even being bottled by business to sell.
"I'm not crying over spilt water as they say. But I feel sad for the others in the community that it's been abused," Mr Laing said.
The first litre is still free, but every additional litre will now cost 25 cents. Each family will only be allowed to take a maximum of 60L a day.
Use of the well has exploded since the city began chlorinating the water supply early this year while bore upgrades are underway.