Queenstown mayor – stop wasting water

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Queenstowners will be encouraged to reduce water consumption to help slash almost $100 million in costs over the next decade.

Queenstown Lakes District Council is launching a campaign to communicate to ratepayers the massive costs of treating water.

It aims to cut the expected cost of water over the next 10 years from $171m, as projected in 2009, to $72m.

Compulsory metering of properties could be considered in the future, council bosses say.

Mayor Vanessa Van Uden says: “Here’s the simple message, if we use less treated water, we will pay less for infrastructure, in fact millions of dollars less.”

A summer conservation campaign begins next month and council has finalised two contracts to cover a three-year education project.

Council infrastructure general manager Erik Barnes says: “It has always been a challenge to shift people’s mind set because we live next to huge bodies of water but the cost comes in treating it. 

“We have a number of initiatives including working with our young citizens through the existing Enviroschool structure. Our children will need to understand about water conservation for the future because it’s a global issue and it’s not going to go away.”

Other initiatives included establishing two water conservation gardens and a campaign around optimal irrigation and watering.

“From the summer peaks we experience, we know irrigation is a major component. A massive amount of water is wasted through daytime watering,” Barnes says.

Council will also look to its own water use.

“Ideally we are looking to use the likes of untreated bore water for parks, reserves and playing fields,” he says.

Untreated water is used to irrigate Lake Hayes showgrounds and council is working with Lakes Leisure to establish an alternative water source at the Events Centre.

“Leak detection is another ongoing body of work but we also want to understand household use,” Barnes says.

“We have been metering all households in Luggate for that purpose and we plan to meter pockets of properties throughout the district from early next year, on a voluntary basis, to help us draw the picture.”

Council is not contemplating introducing compulsory metering at this stage but it might be a consideration in the future.

The first quarterly report on the water demand management programme will be considered by full council on Tuesday.