Me­ters record drop in water use

Huge 1340-litres fall in peak day us­age in Clyde

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA MAD­DOCK

The amount of water Cen­tral Otago house­holds are us­ing each day has dropped sig­nif­i­cantly com­pared to a year ago. The Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil in­tro­duced a user­pays water charg­ing sys­tem in the mid­dle of last year, which it be­lieved had in­creased peo­ple’s aware­ness of the amount of water they were us­ing and was one of the rea­sons for the de­crease. There are 6920 water con­nec­tions in Cen­tral Otago’s three main cen­tres of Alexan­dra, Cromwell and Clyde. Dur­ing sum­mer 2011-2012 those con­nec­tions used 28.3 mil­lion litres on the peak day. That amount dropped by 5.8 mil­lion litres to 22.5 mil­lion on the peak day dur­ing the same pe­riod this year. The amount of water used by each house­hold on the peak day dropped by 890 litres in Alexan­dra this year com­pared to last, by 670 in Cromwell, and by a huge 1340 in Clyde. Chang­ing the ir­ri­ga­tion source for Alexan­dra’s Pioneer Park and Cromwell’s An­der­son Park and Al­pha Street Re­serve, from the town water sup­ply to bores, had also re­duced the take from the town sup­ply, as had re­plac­ing the in­ef­fi­cient water gun ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem at Clyde’s Seaton Square with a ground sys­tem. The water me­ters in­stalled as part of the new user-pays sys­tem had also en­abled peo­ple to iden­tify and mend leaks on their own prop­er­ties. For ex­am­ple, a sur­vey found 15 per cent of water pumped in Clyde was go­ing straight down the drain and three­quar­ters of those leaks were on pri­vate prop­erty. The cooler and wet­ter sum­mer this year to date was also af­fect­ing the amount of water peo­ple were us­ing. Water ser­vices man­ager Rus­sell Bond said that by in­stalling water me­ters the coun­cil was try­ing to get peo­ple to value water and think about whether they were mak­ing the best use of the pre­cious re­source. In other parts of the coun­try where me­ters had been in­stalled con­sump­tion of water on peak days had dropped 20 to 30 per cent. The uni­form an­nual charge used to cover all water costs was re­duced to just enough to fund the water in­fra­struc­ture, and me­ters were in­stalled on most con­nec­tions, with the prop­erty owner billed three times a year. Un­der the new sys­tem, the uni­form an­nual charge in Alexan­dra dropped from $550 dur­ing the 2011-2012 year to $193 this year, from $227 to $106 in Cromwell, and from $298 to $52 in Clyde. This year’s uni­form an­nual charge ranged from $254 to $729 in other parts of the district. It var­ied de­pend­ing on the num­ber of con­nec­tions to each sup­ply. There was a a higher charge for fewer con­nec­tions be­cause there were fewer ratepay­ers to share the cost.

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