Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker says she cannot rule out water meters for the city, but is not pushing for them now.
The issue has become contentious just three weeks before the elections there, because of suggestions Ms Hardaker wants to bring in water meters as a way of conserving water. Her two main rivals are opposed to water meters.
Ms Hardaker says water use in the city is unsustainable because no more water can be taken out of the Waikato River, and with city growth the problem won't go away.
One of her rivals, Ewan Wilson, says water meters at any time would have a detrimental effect on many residents, particularly those on fixed incomes.
Another candidate, Dave Macpherson, believes other options to save water should be tried first, such as encouraging the use of rainwater tanks.