Former Councillor’s Lament

‘Water meter debacle’ could include privatisation, says David Scott

A former KCDC councillor, Dr David Scott, has warned again of the dangers of water privatization.
In a letter to the Editor, Dr Scott says the Kāpiti Coast District Council has been the only major council in the region to approve water meters — and it will be remembered sadly for initiating a ‘water meter debacle.’
Here’s what he says:‘A majority of councillors in 2009, including myself, warned of the difficulties and adverse repercussions that would follow the installation of water meters in individual homes.

KCDC are the first council in the region to install universal domestic meters. (apart from a small scale Carterton effort).

Other larger council in the region, including Wellington council, voted not to install meters,  instead voting for more education and more and better storage of water. The Hutt Valley storage lakes have proved to be excellent and there have been no major water problems even during the last three years when one of the lakes has been out of commission during upgrades. Wellington asked, very effectively, for people to be socially responsible with their water use.

KCDC has said that privatisation will require a large percentage of councillors to support its introduction. This shortsightedness will become apparent when we are amalgamated next year. The largest owner of world water supplies was Enron and look at their history. Whoever charges you for the water you drink owns you.
A domestic water meter will mean that central and federal governments can add a tax to local council charges. This has happened recently in Queensland with ‘Unity water’ who took over local supplies and storage.
In the UK companies like Thames Water are one of the biggest profit generators for private capital and many Kiwis hold shares in that company. The Kiwis who can buy into water supplies here will be in for a bonanza. Unfortunately the majority of Kiwis will not be able to take part in this because of poverty.
It was a poor decision to meter homes and the fact that over 7000 locals signed a petition against water meters, which was ignored by council, points to a lack of any real consultation.
The council building refurbishment for $9.2 million, the building of a $21-million-dollar pool that is not Olympic size and the water meter debacle will be the sad remembrance of this last local council.
(Local Ratepayer of forty years,
Dr David Scott)