When saving water is just not worth the effort

spoonbill 24 May 2008 56

Having just received my water bill from ACTEWAGL I was very disappointed to see that despite my usage being down 33kl over the same period last year, my total bill has increased by $70. This year we put no water on our garden except for grey water – water from baths, showers and laundry was captured for this purpose; we installed a rainwater tank for native plants and did everything possible to save this precious resource. The government has added a myriad of taxes and charges (water abstraction charge, ACT Govt utilities sewer network tax and ACT Govt utilities water network tax) as well as substantially increasing the cost of water for usage over 100kl per annum.

From the website: Over a 12–month period, water usage is charged at the following rates:
the first 100kL water used per year is charged at $0.775 per kL
usage between 100kL and 300kL per year is charged at $1.67 per kL
usage in excess of 300kL per year is charged at $2.57 per kL

This is an grossly unfair method of charging for water as it does not usage does not take into account the number of people in a household. So, in my humble opinion, the moral of the story is that is is just not worth the effort of lugging buckets around the garden unless you can keep consumption under 100kl.

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56 Responses to When saving water is just not worth the effort
smokey4 smokey4 9:28 am 29 May 08

Sorry magella I should be a little more political correct. The ones I found were being cared for in the family home although the “group” homes were interesting. They were the ones with a sprinkler service and unmarked buildings. Not even the local fire brigade or fire prevention part of the council was aware of where all these homes were located due to privacy requirements. A lot more out there than you realise. They used large volumes of water.
One major hospital in Melbourne was installing water meters on every floor to enable water management to occur.

magella magella 8:15 am 28 May 08

(WARNING: slightly off topic rant)

smokey4 said :

I not long ago worked at the pointy end of water charging. Heaviest water users were households with teanage girls or incontinent retards. Heavy charging penalises those with the incontinent retards that have washing machines going 24X7.

“Incontinent retards” – That terminology is delightful. And of course they ALL wear cloth nappies. Or no nappies at all and are just soiling themselves constantly. The incontinent retards that you so kindly refer to (people with disabilities is the recognised acceptable term, it’s not about political correctness -it’s about DIGNITY) for the most part live in government run or subsidised group houses for people with disabilities, and I’m guessing the cost of water is factored into the running of such houses. And yes, I’m sure that households where someone who happens to be incontinent would also use more water (babies, small children and elderly people can also be incontinent – “retards” don’t own the monopoly). But my whinge isn’t about water, I just found your terminology incredibly offensive.

Rant over.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 10:03 pm 27 May 08

it would require a lot less effort to convert to potable water than your and my urine – a LOT less.

How much less? How long would the lakes last at current consumption rates?

ant ant 8:14 pm 27 May 08

Isn’t it crazy, we’re all trying to deal with massive shortages of essential things, and the government is telling people to increase the population. At what point will the link start to sink in?

Mælinar Mælinar 6:30 pm 27 May 08

Only one dam WMC, only one dam. My eyes tell me a different story when I look at LBG, lake belconen, lake gungahlin, lake tuggeranong etc. Lest we forget we are talking about the same dam that his highness decided to allow to run for ‘environmental flows’ a wee while back.

While that water is not directly potable (unless you are particularly strong stomached), it would require a lot less effort to convert to potable water than your and my urine – a LOT less.

So, in context, yes current dam levels at 46% and falling fast is a fine and dandy thing.

The full motive card of Jon Stanhope pty ltd hasn’t been drawn yet.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:14 pm 27 May 08

So you’re saying having a current dam levels at 46% and falling fast is a fine and dandy thing, Maelinar? Water water everywhere, I think I’ll wash the car?

Mælinar Mælinar 2:17 pm 27 May 08

trial water purification plant = we are going to make you drink your poo and wee, even if you don’t want to. Make no other assumptions than the above, for that is their true intent.

BTW, if anybody in ACT Government is reading this (and I know you are) – I challenge you to drive ANYWHERE in the ACT and be more than 20 mins away from a source of water bigger than 1GL.

The reality is, if there were any more water in the ACT, I would be an extremely busy SES volunteer, because I would be doing flood damage mitigation.

Put those apples in your ‘didn’t fall in the catchment’ barrel.

51modelBloke 51modelBloke 1:58 pm 27 May 08

The following comment is a little off base, but do you know what I find is most offensive? I’m referring of course to the topical Canberra data city cum powerstation. Now, I personally don’t have a problem with the issue, in fact I agree there will be huge benefits for all. What I do find offensive is that ACTEWAGL have anything to do with it. We are already paying some of the highest prices for water/electricity/gas, just wait till the creative accountants start to offset some of the costs of data city agains’t our utilities. That’s my rant for today.

Grumpy Smurf Grumpy Smurf 1:15 pm 27 May 08

Just my two cents worth… why do i pay a sewage supply charge – i don’t want the sewerage, I want them to take it away!!!

I understand the point of making water a $1 dearer per kL once you go over a certain usage level, but only if they could reduce the extra taxes and charges. Alternatively, have an option for larger households to access the cheaper rate up to a higher level of usage (as they do in the UK). But to have all these extra taxes and charges, AND to charge a $1 a kL extra once you go over your allotted amount is a bit rich… Isn’t the government trying to encourage us to have more kids??… how about instead of a baby bonus, a water bonus, so you can afford to wash and clean up after the little brats??

What’s this Cr*p I’ve heard about a “trial water purification plant”??? Get real.. what a waste of money..

Mælinar Mælinar 10:51 am 27 May 08

@hax – taking one thing out of the equation is what put us in so much trouble in the snowy. You need to keep the H intact for it to work – albeit you could use it before you return it, but thats another story.

In SA they are doing great things with thermal wells – a quick nutshell summary is a hole all the way through the earths crust to magma, produces steam, how high do you want your water ? (and they are generating power from the lift of steam as a byproduct).

hax hax 1:25 am 27 May 08

aidan said :

Water is heavy. Pumping it about takes alot of energy and costs alot of money.

If only it wasn’t heavy. Like gas.
Instead of desalinzation per say, use electrolysis – then pump the hydrogen and oxygen separetly, and then back into water (mostly) – I’m sure we could find uses for the hydrogen too 😉

As for power, there is some interesting work on artificial photosynthesis, using a supramolecular complex to split water using sunlight. (ie manmade molecule does the work using sunlight, no “power” required).

smokey4 smokey4 7:15 pm 26 May 08

Down South in Mexico all new flats I believe are now individually metered as part of the new building requirements. Problem is retro fitting old flats and leads to some interesting fitouts. For example Flats on Beaconsfield parade where the only way to read or replace the meter is to hang out of a 2nd level window. Been there done that. Or another one done on the cheap in Frankston by dodgy plumbers where only the half the plumbing goes through the individual meters. Many flats are fitted with hot water meters as well with centrally provided hot water.

Thumper Thumper 6:20 pm 26 May 08


I received exactly the same abot a year ago from Corbell.

i’m still waiting….

peterh peterh 5:24 pm 26 May 08

what attention? in the ignore this one basket?

spoonbill spoonbill 5:21 pm 26 May 08

I thought that I would take this up with the Chief Minister who is also minister for water. I have received a reply back,

Thank you for your email to the Chief Minister, your correspondence is currently receiving attention.

Kind regards
Chantelle Lustri
Personal Assistant
Office of the Chief Minister

Ph: (02) 6205 0104
Fax: (02) 6205 0433

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:15 pm 26 May 08

And Thumper could call the roos from the deep desert. OK, I’ll stop nerding out now.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:13 pm 26 May 08

I just had a vision of Canberra’s future – a vast, salinated desert, the people living underground in abandoned car parks, recyling their own waste with special suits, and riding to work on giant mutant Defence-experiment kangaroos, fighting with off-Territory invaders who want our most precious resource – GST distributions.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:07 pm 26 May 08

I think that’s pretty clever, actually (not the oil bit, obviously ;>). Why regulate and enforce when you can just chuck in some disincentives around the proxy indicators and let market forces take care of the rest? Or maybe not – transport and water seem to be surprisingly inelastic. If you’d asked people ten years ago what they’d do if petrol was $1.60+ and our dams were less than half full I reckon they’d say they’d walk to work and drink their own urine when they got there. I’m amazed at how we’ve more or less taken it in our stride, and wonder how long it can last.

Mælinar Mælinar 2:20 pm 26 May 08

It fits completely within the spectrum of this Governments action policies.

Too many cars on the road – sell off carparks
Too much water being used – raise its price

They are too busy wasting our money on tinpot ideas, speaking of which, I think Canberra needs an oil refinery here – the maths is all there, there’s no oil so they’d have to truck it in, there’s hardly any vehicle base, so they’d have to truck surplus finished product out.

Naturally, the price of fuel would remain the same anyway, if not higher than everywhere else because it would be fresher fuel. Do not underestimate the freshness quality characteristics of fuel.

Thumper Thumper 12:24 pm 26 May 08

There seems to be too much of the stick and not enough of the carrot in the water debate

Exactly. There is no carrot whatsoever…

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