QLDC launches trial to charge for water using meters

Jul 31, 2020

From QLDC:

Promoting more sustainable water use is at the heart of a Queenstown Lakes District Council smart water meter pilot planned for Glenorchy later this year. 

A request for information was released today looking for suppliers who could deliver a pilot to test the value of a smart water meter solution that if successful, could be rolled out across the district. 

QLDC Chief Engineer Ulrich Glasner said that water use in this district was far higher than other councils benchmarked and that a smart meter solution could help the whole community be more conscious of their water use, empowering everyone to be more sustainable.

“It’s easy to get complacent about our water supply and we hear a lot of people questioning why we need to look after our water use when there seems to be plenty of it.  The reality is that water is a limited and precious resource and we all have a part to play in making sure our ongoing use is sustainable now and for future generations,” Mr Glasner said.

“Currently in this district we’re using an average of 396 litres of water per person, per day as opposed to the national council benchmark of 263.  On peak days it can be higher again due to summer irrigation or major leaks,” he said.

“Water supply schemes are built to service a calculated demand for each household, business or industrial site and not to simply increase the capacity when demand is high.  Going down that track would mean needing to upgrade reservoirs, pipes and pump stations raising the question of affordability, necessity and environmental responsibility,” he said.

Trialling a smart water meter solution will allow people to automatically track the amount of water used providing an opportunity for residents to be billed by usage as opposed to by property, potentially saving low water users money and encouraging high users to change their behaviour. 

It will also allow Council to find and fix leaks more quickly, reduce the requirement to invest in providing more and more capacity in supply schemes and optimise the ongoing management of the network.  

Mr Glasner said he had some early discussions with some Glenorchy community representatives about the trial and would continue to keep them updated as the plans progress.

“Glenorchy was considered an appropriate place to start the pilot due to its relatively small supply network and environmentally focused community. While we’re still in the early stages of sourcing a supplier and smart meter technology, we’ll keep residents informed on progress and what it means for them,” Mr Glasner said.


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