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3 July 2017
Waipa property owners should check their private plumbing is in good shape before charging for water via meters comes into effect in a year’s time.
Waipa District Council is currently installing water meters into those parts of the district that don’t already have them. Approximately 9,500 new meters are now in place.
Households getting new meters will not be charged for water until mid-2018 and only after they have received two mock bills. The mock bills will indicate how much water is being used and what that would cost once charging starts.
For the 2017/18 year, Ohaupo and Pirongia households that are metered will pay an average of $345 per year for treated water. Waipa households not on meters will pay a standard rate of $405.20 per year, irrespective of how much water they use.
Project manager Robin Walker said contractors installing the meters had noticed some private pipe work in mainly older houses was in poor condition. Most of the concern related to old galvanised steel pipes, connecting the house to the water meter at the boundary.
Galvanised steel has a life-span of around 40 years and was once the standard material for residential water pipes. Since the 1980s, plastic pipes have been used instead.
Walker said some old galvanised pipes were probably due for replacement – and that if households could afford it the time to replace it was now, before water charging kicks in.
“There’s absolutely no requirement for property owners to replace the pipes if they don’t want to –that’s entirely up to them. It’s their private plumbing, not the Council’s,” Walker said.
“But replacing old galvanised pipes will reduce the chance of water leaks which property owners will end up paying for once volume-based charging comes in next year. And it might also improve water pressure because, over time, there is mineral build-up in galvanised pipes which restricts water flow.”
Even small water leaks could add up, he said. Losing between one and five litres of treated water an hour could add around $10 to every quarterly water bill.
Walker said the Council was also focused on fixing water leaks in its own pipe network. Staff would spend around $160,000 over the coming year investigating leaks.
“Water is not free. It’s expensive to treat and supply and ratepayers pay for it so we also have an obligation to make sure we have our own house in order,” Walker said.
Property owners wanting advice on the condition of their private water pipes should contact an independent registered plumber. Information on how to identify leaks is also on the Council’s website.
Media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell 027 5077 599
Water meter enquiries call 0800 WAIPADC (0800 924 723).