City water conservation means no meters
MULTI MILLON dollar savings show that the right choice was made for Wellington by promoting water conservation instead of installing water meters.
Wellingtonians are using less water than last year, a saving of about $7 million, as there is no need to add infrastructures to cope with increased demand, according to a new report to Wellington City Council.
Water usage in 2012 is down 4.5% from last year, from 399 litres per person per day to 377 litres says strategy policy analyst Paul Glennie in the report.
The council has invested heavily in the improvements which focus on active leak identification, such as catchment water meters, which were put in to measure how much is used in each suburb, says councillor Ngaire Best.
By calculating how much should be used by the number of houses in the area, they can see where there are leaks.
“50 houses should use x number of mega litres so if we see a big spike then we can see across the network there has been a leak,” says Ms Best.
She says the upgrades are really paying dividends and have postponed the building of a dam and this is: “heading in the right direction.”
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says she didn’t think a dam was “financially or environmentally feasible”.
She says the council may consider a modest environmental grant, possibly to the sustainability trust, to put across the message of water conservation to retailers.
The council has been working with the top ten water users to help them reduce their usage.
“When you use a lot of something a small increase can create a bigger effect,” she says.
Council identification of areas to reduce water consumption also has a corresponding impact on businesses as they are charged for every drop they use, she says.
The council decided in 2009 to focus on conservation rather than moving towards more punitive measures like water meters.
A decision was made to maintain water consumption at the 2004/05 levels while keeping in mind the effects of population growth, potential economic and commercial growth and the forecast effects of climate change.
Councillor Iona Pannett says it was a “wonderful outcome” and says the capacity infrastructure services and the officers deserved a bouquet.
The council report says a decision on additional water storage has been delayed until 2020.
However, there is still scope for further reductions and this will be re-examined by the council in August or September next year.