Sometime around 1800 a (now) famous poet penned the phrase“Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.” and for a long time this poem was the bane of secondary students throughout New Zealand. It is however quite an important topic when we talk about local government.

One of the core services that council provides is water that’s clean and good enough to drink. It has to meet a certain standard. Likewise – council also removes waste water, treats it and discharges it into waterways and/or estuaries… Pretty simple in theory. However, we’ve seen in New Zealand an increasing inability of various councils to meet their obligations.

However, every (and I mean EVERY) election in Hamilton, someone rolls out the topic of water meters and turns it into an issue… It’s a great issue for aspiring politicians as it brings out the most emotive of responses from the voting public, and the public mood is pretty clear – water metering is political death to anyone that tries to implement it… In fact, shame to candidates that keep bringing this dead issue back to life – it’s a sideshow…

The fact of the matter is that New Zealanders are water wasters – on average we use more than 200 litres per person, per day… Thats 73,000 litres per year.

Another fun fact is that water isn’t free… You can skirt around the issue arguing about the cost of delivery vs the cost of water itself – but there is a cost and its (currently) 34.2% of the Hamilton City rate take. To put that in perspective – a home with a land valuation of $190k (that’s a lower end property with a capital value of around $315k) – that resident is paying around $520 per year… Once you start fiddling around with the UAGC component in the rates – lower valued homes pay a greater share based on their value than higher valued homes…

So, next time you turn on that tap – just think about what it’s actually costing you and consider what your candidates are telling you…