Water meters lead to a reduction in average and peak demand
Water meters lead to a reduction in average and peak demand for water
A reduction in average and peak demand with the introduction of universal water metering was reported in a review of water metering practices by local bodies in New Zealand.
Jonathan Reed and Kristina Hermens, speakers at the Water NZ Conference this afternoon say the reasons for reduced demand are complex and included reduced water use, together with improved leakage management.
They say the case studies show that the benefits of charging for water volumetrically can significantly delay the high capital costs associated with consenting new water sources and building new infrastructure; and also remove or reduce the need to employ seasonal water restrictions.
Councils that have implemented water metering include: Whangarei District, Auckland (Watercare), Tauranga City, Central Otago District, Carterton District, Nelson and Tasman District and a further six councils are either considering or have taken the decision to implement universal metering, including the Kapiti Coast.
The speakers maintain this shows the potential benefits of metering are being widely considered across New Zealand. They point to the recent Local Government Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group Report which found that universal metering has the potential to offset investment in additional water supply infrastructure.
The review said the reasons for implementing water metering include:
· Reducing water use (generally discretionary use) by improving customers’ approach to water efficiency
· Providing a fair and equitable charging regime
· Identifying water losses, and
· Development of an improved understanding of the overall network water balance.
The speakers said it was difficult to clearly identify the exact savings attributable to metering in all the case studies. However, all councils and water companies did identify a reduction in water use.
They say that most importantly, metering tends to mostly reduce peak summer demand by reducing discretionary water use. This is good, as peak demands can be costly for councils to supply as it requires the development of new sources to meet demand for short periods of time.
Jonathan Reed and Kristina Hermens warn that metering should not be an end in itself as it is costly and demands significant time and resources from councils to be implemented successfully. They say that this has proved most useful where councils are faced with high costs to implement new water resource schemes to meet increasing demand. “Reducing demand by metering can reduce demand and offset the need for water resource development, as experienced by both Tauranga and Nelson City Councils”, they will say.