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Picton Renwick And Communities To Be Consulted About Meters

Friday 8 June 2012, 3:22PM

By Marlborough District Council

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MARLBOROUGH

The communities of Picton, Renwick and Havelock will soon be asked their views on the introduction of water meters as the Marlborough District Council explores this option as a way of addressing water supply challenges in the three centres.

Assets and Services Manager Mark Wheeler says water metering is primarily a tool to encourage efficient water use; it enables accurate monitoring of household water consumption and better management of the supply.

He says, as an environmental tool, water metering has proved to greatly reduce demand in other parts of New Zealand where it has been introduced. Not only does it help consumers to understand how much water they’re using, sometimes in a wasteful manner, it also helps to reveal where leakages may exist in the reticulation system.

Council’s Planning and Development Engineer Stuart Donaldson says each of the smaller centres has had its own challenges maintaining good water supply with water restrictions imposed as necessary. Picton has had severe water shortages in the past and work is being done to reduce leakage in the town supply, Havelock has problems when saltwater affects its wells and in Renwick a trend of falling water levels has been recorded in recent years.

Bringing other dams into service, making greater use of rainwater or greywater or finding new water supplies are other options but each carries costs which will be discussed as part of the community consultation. Further work has yet to be done on the detailed costings for universal water metering.

“It incurs a huge cost when a town runs out of water and we don’t want a repeat of the situation we faced about 12 years ago when we were forced to begin making plans to transport water to Picton by train,” said Mr Wheeler.

Currently, Council water meters are in place for the Awatere, Wairau Valley and the Riverlands industrial estate as well as for commercial water users in Blenheim, Picton, Havelock and Renwick.

A community consultation round, including public meetings, will begin from next month and is expected to continue into next year, leading into the 2013/14 Annual Plan process.