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Proposal targets heavy water users

A proposed shakeup in the way South Wairarapa residents pay for their water could see high water users charged more.

Residents will be asked whether they want to reduce household water allocation as part of the council’s enhanced annual plan consultation.

The council has proposed water quotas be reduced to 250m3 per year for all users and to increase the excess water charge to $2.50 per cubic metre of water used above this.

This option would encourage more careful water usage and be fairer because people and businesses that use lots of water would pay more of the costs of running the water supply systems, the consultation document said.

It would also reduce the fixed water supply rates by $250,000, funding this through increased excess water charges instead.

The targeted water rate would be reduced by about $50 per household.

The alternative option that is out for consultation is to maintain the current allocated quota of water – 350m3 per year base water allocation – and have an excess water charge of $1.84 per cubic metre.

The consultation document says the disadvantages of this approach are that most people use less water than they are allocated and it doesn’t promote efficient use of water.

“Water is a precious resource,” the council said.

“Currently, an average household in our district uses about 150m3 of their 350m3 allocated water quota before additional charges kick in.

“Compared with other councils, our allocated quota is higher, and our additional charges are lower.

“This means that people who use less water are paying for more than they use, and slow leaks are not identified and fixed early.”

Consultation for the enhanced annual plan will take place between Friday, April 5 and May 5.

The draft consultation document can currently be viewed in the online agenda for South Wairarapa District Council’s March 27 meeting.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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