Water meters costly and unnecessary says KWAG

The Kāpiti Coast District Council should drop its single-minded obsession with water meters and look at other ways to reduce water demand, says the Kāpiti Water Action Group (KWAG).

“There appears to have been little effort to consider other options to metering. The council has simply gone out looking for evidence that supports a user-pays system. Other data has been ignored,” says KWAG spokesperson Tina McIvor.

“There are huge differences in water use in different areas of the coast. Rather than trying to apply models from elsewhere, the council should be looking at why water use is low in parts of the coast and encourage the other areas to adopt this behaviour,” says Ms McIvor.

“We don’t need to be spending $8 million plus on-going costs while billing people for water as ratepayers already struggle to make ends meet. It’s unfair and unsustainable.”

Many ratepayers remain unconvinced by the case for water meters which seems to be based on anecdotal research.

“Meters do not equate to water conservation. Studies in psychology raise serious doubts as to the effectiveness of financial incentives to promote changes in behaviour. One of the issues is the observation that individuals may modify their behaviour in the short term in reaction to price changes, but in the longer term revert to their old habits. This is called adaption level theory. Non-pricing measures like education, leakage reduction, and subsidies to adopt more efficient water appliances are far more effective.”

Ms McIvor says KWAG encourages locals to make submissions to the council on water meters and charging this week. Submissions close on Thursday, April 28th.