Tuesday, February 13, 2024

David Farrar: Water meters are overdue

The Post reports:

Wellington's mayors can agree on one thing — water meters are coming.

Greater Wellington Regional Council chairperson Daran Ponter on December 14 issued mayors in Wellington, Hutt City, upper hutt, and porirua an ultimatum: His council would consider a higher charge for water supply beyond allocated limits if it did not see plans for water meters by January 31.

Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry and Porirua Mayor Anita Baker responded within days, while Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau waited until nine days before the deadline and Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy waited two days before deadline.

But all agreed that water meters — by which users pay for the amount of water used — were inevitable. The cost of installing water meters has previously been put at $1500 to $2000 per household ‒ up to $300 million for the 151,000 households across the region. Kāpiti, where water supply is not under threat this summer, already has meters.

It is a lot of money, but a necessary investment. Water meters are a good form of user pays which encourage water conservation, and also allows leaks to be much more easily detected.

The grandmother who uses 50 litres of water a day shouldn't pay the same as the family of five using 400 litres a day.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


DeeM said...

So they've all voted for water meters. Another large cost on ratepayers! To measure all the water people are using...or trying to use, because a good chunk of it leaks out all over Wellington before making it to your house.

Rather that, than actually fix the terrible water infrastructure.
It's like putting the cart before the horse, but standard behaviour for most NZ councils these days.

Anonymous said...

And nevermind the cost to all ratepayers, renters are going to be in for another expense, for I hardly see rents coming down in reflection of the water component in the rates and landlord's are unlikely to be picking up the tab for the tenant's long showers.

$300million would be better spent on fixing the leaks first, instead of all that time & resource being diverted. It's not as though we can't see where many of the issues are currently.

Anonymous said...

Pressing ahead with water meters is exactly the kind of stupidity (i.e. spending money on the wrong things) that led to this water problem in the first place. Everyone will have water meters, and there be no water at all! Wouldn't want me to get started on the years of digging and cones and usual massive cost overruns. There must be a factory somewhere pumping out such dullards by the score..

N B H said...

Have these people one once of common sense water meters dont fix leaks if all consumers turned off completely the leaks will still hapen but the percentage would be one hundred percent. Fix the council pipes and they wont need meters there will be plenty of water for everyone. The Wellington councils wouldn't have a clue they are all so woke,I hope the rest of NZ are watching so they will see what hapens when Greens get in power.

Anonymous said...

As an Auckland resident, I have a water meter. We pay a lot for water but when I get a pipe leak, usually caused by a tree root, we get the leak fixed promptly.
The water meter identifies the leak very quickly.
It’s simple, it works. Why we get so many comments about it being a waste of time and money is beyond me.

Robert Arthur said...

There are enormous hidden costs associated meters. Huge damage, immediate and latent to all buried utilities, including water. All passed on to the public. Sediment enters the pipes and plays havoc with fancy modern cartridge faucets and the myriad valves in modern full pressure sytems. Footpaths and roads are cut up; now xtensively in high CO2 concrete with Council's own rules requiring full slab replacement in many cases. Council readiness to forgive private leaks means losses may not hugely reduce. Additional joints on user side of meters adds potential problems, often now buried under concrete. Cutoff taps become very visible and accessible; pranksters cause huge inconvenience for non practical owners. progressive introduction with new builds is feasible; neighbours are now so insular wholescale cheating is unlikely.
Decades ago I stayed in South Dunedin. All neighbouring sections had been raised so the one where I stayed filled like a swimming pool. The owners ran a venturi syphon driven by tap water to maintain the level!!! A case for meters.

DeeM said...

Anonymous at 12:38
I'm a Hamilton resident, I DON'T have a water meter. When I get a pipe leak (one in a blue moon), usually caused by a tree root, I get the leak fixed promptly.
I identify the leak very quickly because water pisses out the ground.
It’s simple, it works. Why so many people get a water meter to tell them they have a leak is a waste of time and money and is beyond me.

Robert Arthur said...

Hi Anonymous 12.38. there are situations under long wide drives etc where leaks are not at all obvious. Curiously despite meters Watercare in Auckland do not actively chase private leaks; hostile to being told about. An obstinate neighbour had an obvious leak under a drive using daily what I use mothly and only after more than 6 months and repeat calls from neighbours did Watecare underatke to fix, presumably billing the owner. And presumably the water billwas mostly written off.

Anonymous said...

Anon@12.38 perhaps if you appreciated how prevalent the problem is on public land you might understand the annoyance at p'ing away $300,000,000 and it not to fix one single leak! Fix the obvious first, then review the situation IF (& it's a BIG IF) we still have shortage issues. It's not rocket science, but it's an easy solution if you're lazy and useless at planning & maintaining. Just like with fags, price water off the market - problem solved! Heads should roll, for they're too busy wasting money on cycle lanes that will make not a jot of difference to the climate.