The Dim-Post

November 29, 2008

Water Wasting

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 8:36 am

DPF linked to this a couple of days ago – a DomPost story about introducing a user-pays system for water in Wellington. This jumped out at me:

Wellingtonians each use 400 litres of water a day compared with Aucklanders’ 300 litres and a national average of 160 litres.

I’d be curious to hear theories as to why Wellingtonian’s use so much water – more than double the national average? That seems odd. Also:

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said metering, already in place in Auckland, was a proven way to encourage conservation. Anything that delayed the financial and environmental cost of a new dam made sense.

“We’ve tried for years to get Wellingtonians to voluntarily reduce their consumption but we haven’t been successful.”

Having lived in Wellington for eight years now I don’t think I’ve ever heard or seen any of these attempts to get me to reduce water consumption. Maybe that’s why they haven’t been successful?

I’m not opposed to a metering system per se; as a blogger I clean myself less frequently than the average person so I’d do well under a user pays regime.

What I would hate to see is privitisation of water delivery, something Rodney Hide, our new Minister of Local Government is keen on. While admirable in theory its not hard to see how it would play out in reality.

  • Day 1: Water services in Wellington are privitised.
  • Day 2: The position of CEO, COO, CFIO, CIO and board are filled with renumeration in the high six/low seven figure range to attract an international caliber of applicants. The roles are awarded to the former public servants who were doing the same job for a sixth of the salary. The board is made up of the consultants who recommended the company be privitised.
  • Day 3: Due to an unexpected increase in operational costs, water prices will increase by 15% per year for the next three years.
  • Day 4: Negative public reaction is overwhelming, so the company hires a PR firm to launch a massive advertising campaign.
  • Day 5: Due to an unexpected increase in marketing costs all maintanance spending on existing water infrastructure will be deferred for five years.
  • Day 6: Cost-cutting; employees that are not crucial to the core business of water delivery will be streamlined. All the engineers get sacked. The company stock price soars.
  • Day 7: Wellington wakes up to find that ‘due to unforseen circumstances relative to outside factors beyond anyone’s control’ it has no running water.
  • Day 8: The engineers get hired back as highly paid external contractors and switch the pumps back on again.
  • Day 9: The board grants their chief executives a massive bonus for their vision and leadership during the recent water crisis.
  • Day 10: Due to unexpected personel costs water prices will increase by 30% every year for the next five years . . .
About these ads

17 Comments »

  1. Sound like the hospital/health and electricity reforms all over again – do we learn nothing ?

    Comment by Stu — November 29, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  2. The article also says that 17% of the water is lost to infrastructure leaks. Presumably that means they lose 34% of the national average water use before it gets to me and I use the other 166%.

    I’ve also never heard WCC trying to encourage me to use less water. WRC does try to encourage sensible watering practices in summer (which I cheerfully do – their information is actually really useful).

    I reckon in our household one of the reasons we use so much water is that I’ve always assumed that, with the exception of summer dry spells, Wellington has heaps of water so there’s no need to be careful. I’ve spent enough time in places with water issues to know how to be frugal with water, in Wellington I’ve never thought that was necessary.

    Comment by Anita — November 29, 2008 @ 8:54 am

  3. What I would hate to see is privitisation of beer delivery, something Rodney Hide, our new Minister of Local Government is keen on. While admirable in theory its not hard to see how it would play out in reality.

    Day 1: Beer breweries in Wellington are privitised.

    Day 2: The position of CEO, COO, CFIO, CIO and board are filled; with renumeration in the high six/low seven figure range to attract an international caliber of applicants. The roles are awarded to the former public servants who were doing the same job for a sixth of the salary.

    Day 3: Due to an unexpected increase in operational costs, beer prices will increase by 15% per year for the next three years.

    Day 4: Negative public reaction is overwhelming, so the new private company hires a PR firm to launch a massive advertising campaign to promote the company.

    Day 5: Due to an unexpected increase in marketing costs all maintanance spending on existing beer breweries will be deferred for five years.

    Day 6: Cost-cutting; employees that are not crucial to the core business of bottling beer will be ’streamlined’. All the engineers get sacked.

    Day 7: Wellington wakes up to find that ‘due to unforseen circumstances due to outside factors beyond anyone’s control’ beer taps have run out.

    Day 8: The engineers get hired back as highly paid external contractors and fix the pumps.

    Day 9: The company executives authorise themselves a massive bonus for their vision and leadership during the recent beer crisis.

    Day 10: Due to unexpected personel costs beer prices will increase by 30% every year for the next five years . . .

    Repeat for food, cars, TV, ipod, ad infinitum.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — November 29, 2008 @ 9:08 am

  4. I didn’t realise that beer was part of the infrastructure, necessary to just about every facet of human existence, and subject to a natural monopoly, Berend.

    Comment by Mausism — November 29, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  5. How wise you are Berend! Surely if the new private water company performs poorly some clever young fellow will simply build a competing dam, reservoir and region-wide water-system!

    Hard to imagine why it hasn’t happened already.

    Comment by danylmc — November 29, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  6. Writing a inspired business plan like that puts you in the frame for the CEO position, Danyl.

    Comment by malcolm — November 29, 2008 @ 10:10 am

  7. Your best post.

    Comment by barnsleybill — November 29, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  8. when we learn from a mistake we don’t repeat it…apparently someone hasn’t learned their lesson…

    Comment by daisy_lou_whoooo — November 29, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  9. Make day 8 happen and I’m all for it!

    Comment by Oswald Bastable — November 29, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  10. The funniest part of all is that nobody is actually taking about privatisation, are they? Just installing a few water meters?

    The two pot screamers from the left have turned that into ‘privatisation.’

    What a load of bullshit!

    You all had better rush off and get some councilling.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — November 29, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  11. I imagine Wellingtonians have to shower more regularly to remove the stench of the public service they wallow in every day.

    Comment by Cactus Kate — November 29, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  12. A friend says: “He left out an important part of day 1. Pots of money for the investment bankers who arrange the sale. That was Roger Douglas’ gift to Faye Richwhite”

    Comment by Owen — November 29, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  13. I imagine Wellingtonians have to shower more regularly to remove the stench of the public service they wallow in every day.

    They should try the odour of venal self-interest instead, what a lovely smell that leaves behind it…

    The weirdest thing about that Dom Post article was the accusation that people are wasting water by flushing the toilet “every time.” Uh, yeah – dunno about you, but I don’t really want people to leave whatever they put into the toilet there for me to discover at a later date, no matter how much water it saves. Still, it’s nice to know that way back when we used to piss off the back steps when munted, we weren’t the uncouth layabout pisshead wankers that I thought at the time, we were in fact heroes of environmentalism. I feel classier already.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 29, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  14. Day 11: The politicians who pushed the privatisation get voted out. They set themselves up as consultants and make a killing doing the same thing elsewhere.

    Comment by Owen — November 29, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  15. This is not original satire.
    It is simply a statement of facts about how the UK (Maggie Thatcher) privatised water in the 1990′s.

    Comment by Colin — December 1, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  16. I love your blog. That is all. :)

    Comment by Ryan Kennedy — December 2, 2008 @ 7:19 am

  17. Colin: they missed a bit as there were no meters in our area, so we all paid an estimated average amount based on the size of our household, kinda like the fixed charges we pay now in Wellington. SO there was no incentive to NOT free-load and use all the water I wanted…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 3, 2008 @ 2:49 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: