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Water Metering Under Consideration to Manage Demand

Water Metering Under Consideration to Manage Demand

Water meters could be the solution to expanding demand for reticulated treated water in the Queenstown Lakes District.

A report recommending further investigations will be on the agenda for the Council meeting on 27 March, as QLDC looks for ways to reduce demand and so defer the need for costly extensions to its infrastructure.

Progress has been made to improve a leaking network over the last three years; however, the district continues to use far more than the national norm of 200 litres per person per day.

Chief Executive Adam Feeley said if the Council could find ways to reduce demand and manage the supply better, it could save ratepayers around $10 million in the next 10-15 years by delaying the need to expand the water network.

Other Councils which have introduced water metering have seen a significant reduction in demand both for normal daily consumption and peak demand, including Tauranga and Nelson.

If the Council decides to explore water metering in more detail, it will include a specific proposal for community consultation in next year’s 10-year plan. If the community endorses the idea, water meters could be installed in every home and commercial building receiving reticulated water within five years. Irrigators are already partiallymetered.

Mr Feeley said that while water metering wouldn’t increase revenue for the Council, it would enable the costs of supplying and managing treated water to be more fairly allocated among users, as the current targeted rating system is a relatively blunt instrument. It would also provide a basis for introducing a user-pays charging regime if the Council wanted to do so in the future.

Ratepayers will also need to understand the initial cost of installing meters and the ongoing operational costs of monitoring and billing. “There is a cost but the true efficiency is in demand management,” Mr Feeley said.

Principles underpinning any water metering regime would include financial sustainability, environmental responsibility, efficient management, cost recovery and the need to include complementary measures to manage water demand.


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