Weekly column by Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor.
The issue of water meters seems to have followed me to Wellington Regional Council.
When I was a councillor on Kāpiti Coast District Council I voted to introduce water meters and charging, and now the idea is being explored by Wellington Water which supplies drinking water to Wellington, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt.
I recall getting a lot of heat back then from those opposed to the idea.
Thankfully that heat (code for verbal abuse, written abuse, and internet abuse) has been replaced by people who, without exception, raise it with me to talk about the benefits.
I note that by my count, there is nobody remaining around the KCDC council table that voted for water meters — having either been retired by the community because of their vote or they have retired on their own terms.
Thank you to those folk who did vote, I think it was 8-3 in favour of introducing water meters.
So here's my tale of my most recent affirmation of what remains my most testing ever council decision, which was incredibly vexing, and personally the most taxing given the vehement opposition.
A year ago my quarterly water bill was $146, then the next was $240.
I thought it was just a blip.
Then the next was $360, so I called KCDC, and the next day a bloke from council came round to check my meter and said, yep, you've got a leak.
He ascertained it was an outside issue — we both looked at the newish asphalt driveway, and we collectively grimaced. He felt my pain.
I called the plumber; first visit no luck, time marched on, second visit he was armed with the council plans that didn't show pipes in the right place so still no luck.
Time marched on. He came up with a suggestion and an estimate of $2000. I dithered. That's a lot of money. Time marched on.
And then another quarterly bill came, over $400! I texted and clearly conveyed, let's just do it before I keep burning, leaking, wasting, more money.
He shot round the next day, and said I've got one more idea. Bingo, a miracle. Hallelujah, it was found - $600 and we were sorted.
But I was still pretty nervous about my next bill.
I'm delighted to report my latest bill was for $105.
Meanwhile, the Wellington Water committee are seeking further refinement and costs on the case for installing residential water meters to help reduce water consumption throughout the region.
Following consideration of the Economic Case for Providing Residential Water Consumption Information report the committee agreed that Wellington Water Limited should commission a detailed business case on how residential water metering could be used to monitor regional consumption, which is among the highest in the country.
Like the dilemma that was faced by the Kāpiti Coast, the introduction of residential water metering is a must for the region to avoid a bill for multimillion-dollar investment in new water sources.
Here in the Kāpiti Coast we introduced water and bought land where a dam could be built in the future to secure increased demand as population grows.
According to a forecast in the Sustainable Water Supply Target and Policy report, the Wellington region will need to find a new water source before 2040 and by 2026 if demand and projected population growth continue at the current rate.