Tank water meters urged

Watercare Services is mulling over an idea to deal with ‘unfair' wastewater charges.

Auckland's water retailer was presented with a proposal for water meters on private tanks in Whangaparaoa at a meeting of directors on Thursday.

Wastewater charges have continued to rankle Rodney residents, despite a change to monthly billing on July 1.

Hundreds packed the Whangaparaoa Community Hall last month to voice their disapproval.

On that occasion, Watercare had rejected an invitation to send a representative.

So at the body's water treatment plant in Mangere on Thursday, the residents came to them.

Whangaparaoa Residents and Ratepayers Association president Winsbury White presented the proposal for a three-month trial of water meters on residential water tanks.

It suggested those on tank water have a water meter installed on the pipe from the pump to the house.

That would be run on several houses during the trial.

The readings will then be passed on to Watercare.

Residents would pay for the meter and installation themselves, with a view to making more meters available after the trial "to those that would like to save themselves some money".

Mr White says the directors were ‘pretty sympathetic' and the presentation was well received.

They were not prepared to discuss it at the time, but Mr White says he knew that in advance.

The directors will consider the proposal and he is hopeful of a positive response.

Mr White of Stanmore Bay is himself living off tank water, and he sums up the general feeling among residents as ‘anger'.

"They're quite angry about it because it's very unfair." he says.

"When you're on tank water and you get levied a fee for the wastewater and that's a flat fee, it doesn't matter how many people are living in the house, it doesn't matter how often you are there."

Mr White does not think Watercare has thought about the possibility of water meters for all residents.

He says one woman who spoke to him after the meeting was a good example.

She was living alone and her work kept her away from home for two weeks out of every month.

So she was paying a high charge despite creating little wastewater.

Rodney Times