Following the intervention of three councillors – John Watson, Wayne Walker and Greg Sayers – Watercare has approved a proposal for “a new discounted water service” for customers on rainwater tanks.
Last month, the three councillors attended Watercare’s board meeting seeking a limited duration reduction in the charge to connect to town supply (HM September 16). The idea is that people on rainwater tanks can connect and use the town supply to fill their tanks by hose providing some water security in a draught.
Watercare’s acting chief executive Marlon Bridge says the intention is to offer Whangaparāoa customers who have a rain tank and whose properties are located immediately next to an existing water network the option to connect to a low-flow supply for tank replenishment.
The lower flow rate is not suitable for home supply, this is to top up tanks via a hose. To connect the house and increase the flow rate, houseowners would need to pay the balance – ie, the normal town supply connection rate.
“The low flow rate means we can offer this service with a reduced infrastructure growth charge and without putting strain on the local water supply,” Mr Bridge says.
“We hope to have the service available before summer and are currently working through the logistics.
Costs are yet to be finalised but it is anticipated that households would continue to use tank supply and simply pay for any water used to top up their tanks on a user pays basis.”
Whangaparāoa customers will be the first to be offered this new service, due to the number of potential customers, availability of the water network and the high demand for tank filling during dry weather.
“Our intention is to roll out the service to other areas based on the level of interest and our ability to support the demand,” Mr Bridge says.
Watercare will release further details on the new connection service, including pricing, once it has met with local board members to work through the logistics of introducing the scheme.
Cr Watson says they are pleased with Watercare’s ‘can do’ response.
“It certainly offers a large number of people an option in a draught. Once people know the details they will be able to decide whether it suits them or not.”
Water restrictions adjusted for businesses
Auckland Council is maintaining residential water restrictions for now, but this week it loosened restrictions on outdoor water use by businesses. From October 12, commercial water users will be able to use hoses equipped with a handheld trigger nozzle. Commercial car washes will also be allowed to operate. The businesses have to meet water savings targets or risk the water restrictions being reinstated. It is hoped these changes will help the economic impact that mandatory restrictions have placed on businesses such as nurseries and water blasting contractors already under financial hardship due to Covid-19. The effects will be monitored, and the restrictions reviewed before the end of the year. Cr John Watson says it is hoped that it will be possible to ease the ban on outdoor water use for residents because of good water savings to date, new supply coming online and a weather forecast that predicts more rain than originally anticipated this summer.