Last summer was the first time Tauranga saw water restrictions in 17 years.

While common in other districts, they were unheard of here during this century. The ample supply and pressure we’ve enjoyed has been due to one factor alone – water meters.

The reduction in demand that followed the 1999 decision to install meters (which cost some councillors their jobs) saved ratepayers from building a new water plant for 10 years and is forecast to save us $83m by 2032.

Filling our 10,000-litre pool this summer costs us $20. It doesn’t cost you, and that’s the way it should be.

That’s the beauty of user-pays.

However, it’s almost certain that I won’t be able to top off the pool whenever I want with the best drinking water in New Zealand this summer.

It’s almost certain there will be water restrictions again this year, as we have record-breaking demand. This is due to population growth, more visitors to the region over the summer months and the obvious dry weather at this time of year.

What are we doing about it?

As well as new reservoirs, construction is underway of the city’s third water plant in the hills behind Te Puke.

It’s an enormous project costing $113m. We’ll be taking beautiful water from the sparkling Waiari Stream, treating it to the best standard in New Zealand, and piping it 22km
to Papamoa and the Mount, which will take the pressure off our two existing water treatment plants in Oropi/Pyes Pa.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris