8 Aug 2012

Deputy mayor disappointed at water-saving scheme

11:51 am on 8 August 2012

The first water bills go in the mail this week to Auckland households under a new regime under which many people will pay considerably more.

At the same time, the council company Watercare is being criticised for scaling back a programme aimed at helping households cut consumption and costs.

Under the former Waitakere City Council, the scheme offered door-to-door advice and fitted water-saving devices.

Watercare, however, will do the work largely by phone.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who was Waitakere's deputy mayor, says she is disappointed that only about 70 homes this year may get a visit.

"We were really clear," she says, "that the only way that people were going to be able to save water and therefore save dollars for themselves was if they were encouraged home by home, house by house, to understand how to save water."

Ms Hulse says Watercare needs to look not just at its own costs but also those of its customers.

Watercare says this year's scheme is a trial that will be reviewed.

Larger households in Manukau will be the hardest hit by the council's new method of charging for wastewater by volume.