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 . . .