An Auckland couple have been able to live off recycled rainwater, thanks to an Auckland Council initiative that has let them borrow up to $5000 for a pair of extra water tanks.
Richard Butterworth and Adele Robinson were reluctant to use the town water supply at their home in the Whangaparoa Peninsula but found during the drier summer months their single water tank would often run dry.
"We were thrifty with water, but there are only so many times you can go without having a shower," said Ms Robinson.
So the couple, who run their own ceramic art business Borrowed Earth, applied to borrow the money as part of the Auckland Council's Retrofit Your Home initiative.
This enabled them to install two extra tanks, one to supply the house with water, the other for the garden.
Ms Robinson said it would take an extreme circumstance for them to run out of water now.
Under the council programme Auckland ratepayers could apply for up to $5000 financial assistance for home insulation, clean heating, fire place removal, water tank installation and water efficient devices for each house they own.
The money owed is then attached to the rates bill to be paid back over nine years.
Ms Robinson said the programme enabled them to make the most of their available resources.
"We have been wanting to get another water tank for a while, but we just didn't have a spare five grand lying around and we wanted to get it now, rather than later."
In addition ratepayers can take advantage of a two-hour consultation with a specialist Eco Design advisor to learn how to make their building or renovation project more eco-friendly.
Team manager Funding and Incentives Frances Hayton said there has been a strong uptake from ratepayers since the Retrofit Your Home programme was set up in 2011.
She said around 13,000 people had been approved over the four years, with the annual funding for the programme increased from the initial $6 million to $9 million.
The average amount borrowed per house was $3100 with 46 per cent of people applying for help with insulation, 34 per cent for insulation and clean heat and 20 per cent applying for clean heat only.
Statistics around those applying for fire place removal, water tank installation, moisture extraction and water-efficient devices were not yet available as they were recent additions to the programme.
Ms Hayton said most people applying for assistance came from the Waitakere, Henderson and Massey areas where there was a really strong history of environmental values.
"There is a lot of public interest in increasing home efficiency."
How to retrofit your home
• Auckland council ratepayer
• Good rate payment history
What you can get
• Home insulation
• Clean heating
• Fire place removal
• Water tank installation
• Water efficient devices
• For a rain water harvesting tank, you must be on the urban water supply
• For clean heat interventions, your home must already be insulated
• Up to 5000 can be borrowed and will have to be repaid over nine years through a targeted rate included on your rates bill.
• Around seven per cent interest normally applies
• If you sell your house the financial assistance owing passes onto the new homeowner