In a special piece for the Kāpiti Independent, Councillor Ross Church explains why he joined Crs Gurunathan and Lloyd in voting against water meters. We also have a report on Cr Lloyd’s position. (In an earlier piece, Cr K Gurunathan also spoke out). We also issue an open invitation to Mayor Jenny Rowan to explain why she has decided to forge ahead with meters despite widespread public opposition.
‘Why I Voted Against Water Meters’By Cr Ross Church
For me it is about balancing the arguments for and against, timing, necessity and boldness.
For: I totally ‘get’ the pure logical argument put forward for water meters. It is $8m now, or $30m, over the next 20 years, on other infrastructure. It’ seen as fairer, ie user pays. It’s a conservation method. All very laudable.
Against: What if we don’t get the 25% savings?
What if the savings are so good that the income is not generated to pay for them?
What if we put the $8m toward a longer term solution?
What if the population growth projections are wrong?
What if we don’t start to run low on water in 2015/16? – should we rely on a 5 year weather forecast?
Timing: We won’t run out of water, according to all the figures, until at least the 2015/16 season. If we then start to run low on water, we have the bore-field as the first line of defence. Do we then need water meters as well? We have at least 4 years of headroom to look for a bigger, bolder, better decision.
Essential conclusion: Given my misgivings about the what-ifs, I’m not convinced that water meters are 100% essential right now.
Councillor Lloyd’s stand
Earlier, Councillor Tony Lloyd was reported as saying the petitions, Long Term Plan submissions and Council’s own survey clearly showed a lack of support for the project.
And he said they demonstrated the high level of community concern.
Cr Lloyd said the potential was there for ratepayers to be penalized for saving too much water, something Tauranga’s residents could attest to. He said their water charges were increased to cover a shortfall in Council’s income as a direct consequence of a higher than budgeted reduction in water usage.”
And Cr Lloyd was reported as saying he had deep concerns at the effects on those who are either on low or fixed incomes.