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Water Toby Upgrade

water tap running

Council’s water upgrade, which will improve quality and resilience and reduce water loss, is nearing completion.

The project has seen the installation of new water tobies which contain backflow prevention devices to add an extra element of protection to Wairoa’s water supply network, are an industry standard and Ministry of Health requirement. It also includes installing electronic water meters to enable water loss to be detected and repaired. This technology will monitor and reduce water loss, find leaks and ultimately reduce overall operating costs.

Around 2000 smart meters have been installed in the Wairoa township, Frasertown and Tuai village.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said this new technology assists in bringing Wairoa’s drinking water delivery up to the same level as most other places in New Zealand.

Mr Tipuna said Council’s approach is long-term and by aligning with national best practice will ultimately increase Wairoa’s water resilience from three days’ supply to five days’ supply.

“Providing safe reliable drinking water which meets Council’s compliance obligations is a priority and we were fortunate to be able to deliver this project through the government’s $11 million three waters stimulus funding.

“The upgrade is at no cost to ratepayers. Council will own and maintain the smart meters, back flow prevention devices, pipes and network assets on Council’s side of the water supply. Property owners will still only be responsible for the pipes, fittings and devices on their side of the water supply.

“Smart meters provide clever automated technology. The data will be collected through software and stored in the cloud. For every litre that goes down the drain Council and ratepayers are paying twice. We pay to treat the water and supply it to the consumer, and we pay to take it away in the wastewater. This is about partnering with our community to stop water loss with key outcomes being compliance, future proofing, environmental sustainability and resilience.

“As Council has stated from the beginning, the installation of smart meters is driven by reducing and monitoring water loss which will potentially reduce costs for Council and therefore ratepayers.

“This is not an exercise about charging people for their water. Charging for water consumption may come in time, and as has been occurring in Wairoa for many years, there are already properties which are metered, and water use is charged.

“However, it is not our expectation at this stage to be charging for domestic water use. If though, a property is using a significant volume of water, we would want to work with the property owner to find out why the water consumption is so high, and in some cases, as occurs now, there may be water charges incurred.

“Water meters and smart meters installation do not have to be consulted on and are part of Council’s duty of care as a responsible water supplier.”

28 June 2022

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