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Topic # 132281 15-Oct-2013 16:59
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Today I saw an article in the Waikato Times (shown here on stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/9282623/Water-meters-may-be-closer-than-you-think) that made me think about the metering system for water.

I live in Hamilton, and have noticed over the past few years the water restrictions and the blatant flouting of the rules by some residents (not sure if home owners or renters, but who as a renter would water the lawn?)

In that sense, water meters would be a benefit for the rest of the rate payers, as they are charged for the water they use.  At the moment every rate payer is lumped with the same portion of rates going to water, regardless of what we use.

Personally, if water meters go in at home i will be re-plumbing part of the house (toilet, washing machine, hose) to water tanks.  I will also be installing a grey water tank under the deck and use that for the garden. 

By doing so, i hope to achieve lower water rate bills, but also to reduce the loads on the system.

Currently i water the garden over summer from two 1000L tanks connected to the garage and this is more than enough to survive the summer (last summer was particularly hard).

What are your thoughts on meters?  I know Tauranga had them installed and saw a big drop in water usage and no longer have the need for water restrictions.  The install cost and now the upcoming replacement cost is a factor though, is it worth it, or is it worth investing in the infrastructure and fixing leaks?


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  Reply # 915588 15-Oct-2013 17:03
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I suppose that if you don't charge for use of a resource, there's no real incentive to conserve it, is there?




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  Reply # 915609 15-Oct-2013 17:31
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My parents have had a water meter for years in Greytown, they get a certain amount of water a year under their rates and if they go over that pay more, My Dad has a big garden which he keeps green and they very rarely get charged anything extra.

 

They are also good as people that have leaks that would not of otherwise fixed them actually have an incentive to have them fixed e.g leaky tabs, faulty toilet valve etc.

 

Biggest problem my parents have had with it is when they installed it they got stones all through the system what caused taps not to turn off etc, the council paid the costs to have to resolved thankfully.

Dion

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 915611 15-Oct-2013 17:39
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Christchurch has had water metres for well over a decade and they are not used for monthly charging (yet).
Auckland as we all know charge for water monthly. When I lived in Waitakere City (before it was swallowed into Auckland Super City), the council then gave discounts to people who recycled the rain water to use on their gardens, toilets, showers, drinking (if they had invested in that kinda filtration / tanks).

Each to their own.

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  Reply # 915617 15-Oct-2013 17:49
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mckenndk: My parents have had a water meter for years in Greytown, they get a certain amount of water a year under their rates and if they go over that pay more, My Dad has a big garden which he keeps green and they very rarely get charged anything extra. They are also good as people that have leaks that would not of otherwise fixed them actually have an incentive to have them fixed e.g leaky tabs, faulty toilet valve etc. Biggest problem my parents have had with it is when they installed it they got stones all through the system what caused taps not to turn off etc, the council paid the costs to have to resolved thankfully.

Dion


That is quite a good system. Greytown has one of the fairer ratings systems, as theirs is based on the Land value, rather than the capital value, so you are not penalised for having a nicer house.  Although if they merge with the other councils, which is now very liekly, they may end up moving to CVs, as all the other towns seem to use CV's to rate on. So they may end up paying a lot more in rates.

Most of NZ seems to rate based on CVs, which IMO is an unfair way to rate, as it means that some people who have decided to built nice new houses and improving their street, are subsidizing the rates of those who chose to live in run down houses. eg . So there is no incentive to improve your house and the street appeal. Alhough IMO rates, including water rates should be based on the number of people living in the property. eg A 2 person house uses about twice as much water as a one person house. Same thing with sewage, the more people in the house, the more demand on the system. But rating on LV, CV, is simplier for them, and they think richer people live in more expensive houses, so can afford to pay more in rates, and subsidize those who live in cheaper houses..
There are many houses that house 8 people or more, and they may be paying only a small amount in rates if the house isn't valued very highly, which doesn't seem fair at all. 


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  Reply # 915623 15-Oct-2013 18:02
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We've got them in kapiti but aren't yet being charged until the rollout is complete.

My thoughts are why not, the water doesn't come out of your tap direct from the sky so why not pay?

Why should someone who uses very little pay as much as a family with a spa, swimming pool etc, user pays

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  Reply # 915624 15-Oct-2013 18:03
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jaymz: Today I saw an article in the Waikato Times (shown here on stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/9282623/Water-meters-may-be-closer-than-you-think) that made me think about the metering system for water.

I live in Hamilton, and have noticed over the past few years the water restrictions and the blatant flouting of the rules by some residents (not sure if home owners or renters, but who as a renter would water the lawn?)

In that sense, water meters would be a benefit for the rest of the rate payers, as they are charged for the water they use.  At the moment every rate payer is lumped with the same portion of rates going to water, regardless of what we use.

Personally, if water meters go in at home i will be re-plumbing part of the house (toilet, washing machine, hose) to water tanks.  I will also be installing a grey water tank under the deck and use that for the garden. 

By doing so, i hope to achieve lower water rate bills, but also to reduce the loads on the system.

Currently i water the garden over summer from two 1000L tanks connected to the garage and this is more than enough to survive the summer (last summer was particularly hard).

What are your thoughts on meters?  I know Tauranga had them installed and saw a big drop in water usage and no longer have the need for water restrictions.  The install cost and now the upcoming replacement cost is a factor though, is it worth it, or is it worth investing in the infrastructure and fixing leaks?



I come from the UK where meters have been a requirement in new homes for almost 20 years. They are now read merely by a van driving down the street. NZ really is a long way behind in that area.

My view is that user pays - what is the difference between that and any other utility?

Likewise the concept of basing rates on property values is lunacy: it should be a per capita charge on all adults over 18 at an address. People use local services, not the buildings in which they live.





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  Reply # 915627 15-Oct-2013 18:10
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langers1972:  

My thoughts are why not, the water doesn't come out of your tap direct from the sky so why not pay?

Why should someone who uses very little pay as much as a family with a spa, swimming pool etc, user pays


But you do already pay for water in your rates, it's usually a set fee, or based as a percentage of your CV.  People with a swimming pool are likely to have a larger CV, so maybe paying a lot more in rates anyway.

I am all meters that have a set fee like in greytown, and if you use over a certain amount, then you have to pay. Water metering by some councils seems to be a license to print money.

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  Reply # 915630 15-Oct-2013 18:13
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Geektastic: 

Likewise the concept of basing rates on property values is lunacy: it should be a per capita charge on all adults over 18 at an address. People use local services, not the buildings in which they live.


I am with you on that, especially the ones that do it on CV, rather than LV. But in NZ people seem to be more mobile than in the UK, so very difficult to prove who lives at what address. Although I would have thought the voting information the gov has on record should be enough. But perhaps local councils don't have access to that info. It would likely reduce rents quite a bit, as the landlord wouldn't be paying it.

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  Reply # 915631 15-Oct-2013 18:16
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i live in Rotorua and we dont have water metres but all our water comes from a huge spring, so we dont tend to get shortages in summer, even in this years drought there were never problems and the plus side means the tap water is spring water and really nice to drink.




Common sense is not as common as you think.


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  Reply # 915635 15-Oct-2013 18:21
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I grew up in Auckland City and have had water meters since time out of memory. It seems like utter lunacy to not have them. Anyone knows that unmetered anything will lead to abuse. What is a rort though is watercare charging something like 10x the amount to dispose of the wastewater purely guessing utilisation at 80% of total water usage. You really need a waste water meter to be equitable.

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  Reply # 915636 15-Oct-2013 18:23
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mattwnz:
Geektastic: 

Likewise the concept of basing rates on property values is lunacy: it should be a per capita charge on all adults over 18 at an address. People use local services, not the buildings in which they live.


I am with you on that, especially the ones that do it on CV, rather than LV. But in NZ people seem to be more mobile than in the UK, so very difficult to prove who lives at what address. Although I would have thought the voting information the gov has on record should be enough. But perhaps local councils don't have access to that info. It would likely reduce rents quite a bit, as the landlord wouldn't be paying it.


Easy - just make it a legal requirement to complete a form each year stating how many adults reside at an address and make it punishable by a minimum fine of $5000 to lie on the form. 

You pay where you were at the beginning of the rating year.







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  Reply # 915637 15-Oct-2013 18:24
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jaymz: Personally, if water meters go in at home i will be re-plumbing part of the house (toilet, washing machine, hose) to water tanks.  I will also be installing a grey water tank under the deck and use that for the garden. 

By doing so, i hope to achieve lower water rate bills, but also to reduce the loads on the system.

Currently i water the garden over summer from two 1000L tanks connected to the garage and this is more than enough to survive the summer (last summer was particularly hard).



If your garden can survive on 2 x 1000L rainwater tanks I don't think you have anything to fear from metering but you could have dropped a few 0's.

If you are a low user the fixed charges for meter reading can be more than the water charge.

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  Reply # 915638 15-Oct-2013 18:25
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1eStar: I grew up in Auckland City and have had water meters since time out of memory. It seems like utter lunacy to not have them. Anyone knows that unmetered anything will lead to abuse. What is a rort though is watercare charging something like 10x the amount to dispose of the wastewater purely guessing utilisation at 80% of total water usage. You really need a waste water meter to be equitable.


That is the problem with moving to metering, and then subcontracting it out to a profit company that has it's own staff etc, and needs a return to it's shareholders. No different to electricity though. You are almost always going to end up paying more when that happens, especially if there is no competition. Keeping things inhouse, is almost always cheaper I have found.

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  Reply # 915640 15-Oct-2013 18:28
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Bung:
jaymz: Personally, if water meters go in at home i will be re-plumbing part of the house (toilet, washing machine, hose) to water tanks.  I will also be installing a grey water tank under the deck and use that for the garden. 

By doing so, i hope to achieve lower water rate bills, but also to reduce the loads on the system.

Currently i water the garden over summer from two 1000L tanks connected to the garage and this is more than enough to survive the summer (last summer was particularly hard).



If your garden can survive on 2 x 1000L rainwater tanks I don't think you have anything to fear from metering but you could have dropped a few 0's.

If you are a low user the fixed charges for meter reading can be more than the water charge.


Yes, 2000Ls isn't going to go very far for a garden. But councils are all for people installing their own tanks, as the less demand on their resources, the better for them. But it is a cost  t o you, and you do have to clean out the tanks and install first flush systems which is a hassle.

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  Reply # 915645 15-Oct-2013 18:35
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mattwnz:
1eStar: I grew up in Auckland City and have had water meters since time out of memory. It seems like utter lunacy to not have them. Anyone knows that unmetered anything will lead to abuse. What is a rort though is watercare charging something like 10x the amount to dispose of the wastewater purely guessing utilisation at 80% of total water usage. You really need a waste water meter to be equitable.


That is the problem with moving to metering, and then subcontracting it out to a profit company that has it's own staff etc, and needs a return to it's shareholders. No different to electricity though. You are almost always going to end up paying more when that happens, especially if there is no competition. Keeping things inhouse, is almost always cheaper I have found.


We badly need regulators here. I have no issue at all with private ownership - every utility in the UK has been privately owned since the early 90's if not before.

However, the privatised businesses are treated differently - they are known as "Regulated Businesses" within the companies that own them (which often have regulated and non regulated businesses: for example, AWG PLC owns the regulated business Anglian Water, but also owns a car leasing company and a property development company).

Regulated businesses are covered by the Regulator for each industry (OFWAT for water and sewage) and every 5 years the businesses submit their plans for the next 5 years which include what they want to charge, what reductions in leakage rates they will achieve, what customer service metrics they will be measured against and so on. They are fined for failing to comply with any of these once in place, btw.

OFWAT then reads their proposal and consults, then issues a draft determination which invariably requires the company to charge less and do more, faster!

One more round of consultation and possible amendment and then the determination is law, in effect. The companies can only charge what the determination says and must comply with the various standards and so on therein (answering all calls within 30 seconds, responding to all written communications within 10 working days, cutting leakage losses from 10% to 5% and so on).

No insurmountable reason such a system would not work here that I can think of.





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