31 Jul 2012

Auckland's poorest communities face wastwater hikes

11:14 pm on 31 July 2012

Some households in Auckland's poorest communities are facing big increases in the cost of basic water services.

Watercare has been changing the way it charges for wastewater under the new Auckland Council.

Some households in the former Manukau area are about to face a hike of more than 40%.

Under the new charges, a family of four in Manukau, using about 20 bucket loads of water each every day, would end up paying about $712 a year for it to flow into the drains as wastewater.

That's an increase of about $270, on top of the cost of water itself, which generally increases with the number of people in a house.

The more people in the house, the more the bill will go up.

As with changes to rates, it is part of the process of having identical charges across the entire Auckland region.

Watercare spokesperson Owen Cook says before the new Auckland Council was created the local authorities had seven different charging systems of varying amounts.

"We have evened it out. But unfortunately when you even out like this, there are winners and losers."

[h Citizens Advice bracing for influx

The Citizens Advice Bureau says an increase in the cost of water services for some people living in Auckland's poorest communities will place immense pressure on families.

Mangere Citizens Advice Bureau says families are barely managing to get by and the wastewater increase could tip them over the edge.

It says staff are preparing for an influx of people wanting financial assistance when the new water bills are sent out.