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Water meters not about conservation


Local human rights group, Right to Water, argues against water metering on any grounds.

A user-pays system for domestic water supply will increase inequality and is a dubious way to conserve water resources says a local human
rights group.

The Wellington Regional Council and the NZ Water and Wastes Association have both recently called for compulsory water metering and charging
households by the volume of water used.

“These proposals aren’t about solving water shortages. They're about enabling business to access a sector previously off limits,” says Right
to Water spokesperson Maria McMillan.

“New Zealand business interests, cheered on by their overseas peers, have been lobbying since the mid-1990s for the commercialisation of
water including metering. Metering is a usual first step towards involving private sector in the management and distribution of water.
The potential profits available to businesses managing household water supply are huge,” says Ms McMillan.

“Whether publicly or privately managed, a user-pays system is unfair. People on low incomes or with large families are disproportionately
affected by charging for water. On top of this people have no choice but to use water – consumers can’t shop around for an alternative,” she says.

“Water is a public good and a human right. Its supply should not be left to the whims of the market. Access to sufficient quantities of clean
water is the most basic of public health measures and something that benefits us all.”

“User-pays systems link suppliers’ profits to the amount of water they can sell – this clearly won’t result in reductions in water use. There
are many more direct and targeted approaches to reducing water usage, such as promoting water recycling, rainwater tanks and water education
programmes,” she said.

Internationally the water industry is worth US$400 billion.


Re: Water meters not about conservation

Rework your argument some.

The trouble is that you oppose "user pays" for POLITICAL reasons and that is coming through far too strongly.

Metered water IS an example of a targeted approach to reducing water usage and you should produce arguments why you believe such altenratives as promoting water recycling, rainwater tanks and water education programmes would work better.

You need also to address why measures such as "free basic minimum" would not alleviate the unfairness to the poor claimed.

Forget about the "capitalism" part of this. I agree tha business interests will try to horn in but that's part of your GENERAL fight against capitalism, not this specific issue. In effect you need to present an argument why metering (measuring water usage) would be bad assuming you had already managed to replace capitalism with socialism. Need to present arguments why socialist individuals would not waste water, particularly when they hadn't a clue how much water they were actally using as no measuring device.

Re: Water meters not about conservation

rain water tanks are also the right of the rich, as is home ownership. water metering affects only the poor, in cheap urban housing where there will never be water tanks.

Re: Water meters not about conservation

Water metering was tried in Wellington about 60 years ago. The meters were all ripped out because of the expense of reading them, and because there was no real problem of water shortages in Wellington (just like today).
Since then we have had the rise of greedy global corporate empires and right-wing city councils who don't see access to water as an essential service and basic human right, like air, but just another way to extract money from the serfs.
Their bleating about 'conservation' is of course a political smokescreen for the real agenda.

Re: Re: Water meters not about conservation

Hmmm, there's a very pro-metering article in this morning's Chch Press, stating the amount of water that it lost through leaks and pipe bursts and the only way to lower this is to meter private dwellings... Someone's logic is impecable

Re: Re: Water meters not about conservation

Hey, if corporate interests could figure out a way to meter and charge people for the air they breathe, they'd be all over it.

Re: Water meters not about conservation

What is the amount of water being used by dairy farms vs home use? and industrial vs residential?

Who owns the water and who wants the metering? I;m sure there are a good few questions that need to be asked (and answered).

Re: Water meters not about conservation

There is a very bad smell in Otautahi around this council. They would have no problem putting water up for sale. This is two issues. Saving water is one. Paying for it a completely different one. The issue for poor people is still the same. How the fuck would we be able to afford to pay for water as well?

And what is our response?

Re: Water meters not about conservation

Water is not infinite and needs to be managed, metering is an effective tool for this to be done.

You currently pay for water right now, via rates or through your rent which is in turn used to pay rates. A cost or tax therefore already exists on water already.

Water metering is not a problem and Ecan have already procecuted one Selwyn farmer for stealing water.

The UN does recommend an economic model to utilise this resource. I'm pretty sure everyone here doesn't want to see NZ pay for the actual water but as already state are happy to pay for its delivery.

The question who owns and can use vast sums of water is a critical issue and I for one am against our current 35yr tenures to take water and this done on a first in first served basis.

The Ecan senior enforcement officer is ex-London Police Terror Team. Which I found rather interesting.


Re: Water meters not about conservation

What next? Let me guess, huh why not have a Hui for Maori only water, and another Hui for rich pakehas only too?

It's all racial predictable isn't it

Re: Water meters not about conservation

You are.

Re: Water meters not about conservation

"The question who owns and can use vast sums of water is a critical issue"

Yup, and metering, even when it isn't just a move towards privatisation of supply, solves it in the usual capitalist way by saying "let's let rich people have as much as they want and make poor people skimp on it".

NZ does have plenty of water to provide domestic supplies, but storage facilities are limited in some areas. Local government are attracted to meters so they can spend their money on roads, sculptures and supporting their mates' businesses, rather than boring things like providing water to poor people.

And sorry, Mike Novack, but this is a political issue, not something to be approached apolitically.


Sam Buchanan

Re: Water meters not about conservation

Sam, I agree water is a political issue but I see metering as an essential tool for its management.

It can indicate leaks or practises that can be adjusted before any punitive measures come in.

NZ simply doesn't use Grey Water, recycle water to flush the loo or water the garden. The same thing that makes soapy water bad for waterways is good for gardens.

These are a few of the simple steps we need to take.

"NZ does have plenty of water to provide domestic supplies,..." - this is wrong.
Both quality and quantity are a bit iffy on Banks Peninsula and almost anywhere in Otago.

Michael F

Re: Water meters not about conservation

Well, I'm no expert on Otago, but I notice the South Island hydro lakes were being emptied the other day because they were too full.

I've never heard of water meters being used to detect leaks, it would seem an inefficient way to do it, since all you could do is figure that water is going missing somewhere between two meters. Isn't ultrasound or infrared the usual technique for leak detection?

In any case, this doesn't justify meters at every household connection - it might justify a few scattered around the reticulation system. If conserving water is the issue, the money spent installing, reading and servicing meters would be better spent on systems to recycle grey water, as you mention, rainwater tanks and education.


Re: Re: Water meters not about conservation

Rainfall levels are very different on the west and east coasts of the South Island. They have what is called a "rain shadow".

Re: Re: Water meters not about conservation

The most efficient way of searching for leakage is metering, and a 5 foot long listening stick (was my profession in the UK). The fact that water leakage isnt done all the time evrywhere is nothing short of scandalous.

With meters you only pay for what you use. the idea of meters is no immoral, the immorality is the unfair increase in prices.

Re: Water meters not about conservation

That flushing of the Waitaki was great to see, not because it might blast the dydimo away for a year or two, not because it was a sign of a healthy watercatchment (it may mean increased melt from local global warming), but because rivers flood and for their health need a good blow out every now and again.
One of the great failings on hydrogeneration is the reduced flow of rivers and an end to normal flooding that is needed for river health.

To be consistant and against watermeters, it would seem to me you would also need to be against the Census and the use this plays in our Social Services(?).

In order to know what we have and what we need, surely the first step is to measure it?

We have just gone through a massive worldwide round of Socialism for the Rich and ACTs policies have failed the world over. I don't expect water to be privatised in NZ anytime soon.
Michael F

Re: Water meters not about conservation

modern tenancy agreements allude to water metering

Re: Water meters not about conservation