INDEPENDENT NEWS

Increased Water Charges Not Acceptable To Council

Published: Thu 16 Nov 2000 04:48 PM
Auckland City Council's Investments Committee has agreed to accept a lower financial return from Metro Water Limited so that Metrowater can absorb the increased water charges from the wholesaler, Watercare Services.
Councillor Vern Walsh, Chairman of the Committee says that given the increases in the last two years any further increase to customers would be totally unacceptable.
"Metrowater is a public company owned by Council, and if Council agrees that a lesser return is acceptable, then as the owner that is the control we have," said Councillor Walsh.
"Auckland City can influence the prices set through our ownership of Metrowater," said Councillor Walsh.
Metrowater is required by its Statement of Corporate Intent and Operating Agreement with Auckland City to report to shareholders quarterly on its operations and performance.
Although the Council is prepared to accept a lower financial return from Metrowater, there are other performance targets such as meeting water quality standards, the response time for dealing with breaks and leaks and new service connections that must continue to be met or exceeded.
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Councillor Walsh says it was particularly pleasing to note Metrowater's increased emphasis on the identification of leaks and the successful introduction of a water leak remission policy introduced last year.
This policy designed to assist consumers by way of conservation and water management advice and encouragement through leak remission credits had an important influence on the city's water usage.
"Stopping water wastage in this way does reduce revenue but is environmentally responsible when you are dealing with a precious resource," said Councillor Walsh.
A reduction in water used by Metrowater's customers has also reduced the amount of wastewater used. Watercare also fixes the tariff for wastewater so any reduction in wastewater volume sold reduces Metrowater's revenue but not its costs.
Councillor Walsh says it is desirable for Metrowater to encourage this conservation and he expects the reduction to continue. The Investments Committee will take this into account when reviewing the financial targets.
For further information please contact Councillor Vern Walsh:
Telephone 09) 626 5492 or 021) 770 283.

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