New waste water tariffs impact on schools and business

23 September 2013

Drain pipe iStock_000000636319XSmallThe way that Aucklanders pay for their waste water is set to change from June 2014.  This will impact on the financial reality for many schools and businesses over the next four years.

Getting in and being proactive about these changes will allow organisations to manage their water budget better during the transitional period between now and June 2016, advised Jonathan Woodbridge Buys, Energy and Environment Technology Associate at Total Utilities.

Why are water tariffs changing?

The unification of Auckland brought together seven local councils and their water services, with many differing tariffs for water usage into one clear structure.

Auckland SuperCity water provider, WaterCare, has introduced a single clear fee structure for the whole of Auckland for regular water services.  This four-tiered fee structure will consist of three parts: two are based on the measured volume of fresh water used and the assessed volume of waste water returned to treatment, and the third part is a service levy.

The charge for fresh water is a straightforward fixed fee across all four tariff plans.  Usage will put into bands: low, moderate, high and industrial, based on the volume of water used.  The cost per litre of waste water returned to treatment will vary according to usage volumes and an assessed portion is rebated.

How will waste water tariffs be calculated?

The waste water percentage calculation is more complex.  Organisations in the North Shore and Waitakere are used to paying a high flat fee for water management and will have no historical assessment of the percentage of their water that ends up in the sewer.  In these cases, WaterCare will audit water usage in order to establish the percentage waste water charge.

Rather than waiting and paying increased water charges until such an audit can be carried out, TUMG advice is that organisations should consider doing some of the legwork up front, or discussing how TUMG can help with a review.

“In order to work out a budget for on-going water costs, schools and businesses particularly in the North Shore and Waitakere regions would be well-advised to create a profile of their water usage to evaluate seasonal variations,” said Jonathan Woodbridge Buys.

“This will allow them to estimate the percentage of their water that does not end up returning to the treatment plant as waste.  This self-evaluation is an essential part of working out how to budget for the potentially substantial cost changes in the next four years.”

“Most Manukau and Auckland water accounts have already been assessed and waste water volume rebates already applied are likely to remain,” Jonathan continued. “Budgeting through this transitional period is not simple, and TUMG can assist companies and schools prepare, as well as ensure the best practices are considered.”

What is the timeline for these changes?

These changes to the waste water tariff will start being phased in from June next year.  There will be a gradual changeover from the existing system.  From mid-2014 your water bill will comprise of one third new charges, two-thirds old charges.  In 2015 new charges will make up two-thirds of your bill with third based on the old cost structure.  By June 2016, the new WaterCare charges will be fully in place.  However, due to the mid-year tariff changes, the full impact will only seen in the 2017 budget if your financial year runs from January to December.

How can Total Utilities help you minimise payments?

By looking at your profile of water use and assessing the budget prognosis over the next 4 years, Total Utilities can help small and medium-sized businesses and schools to prepare for the coming changes.

We will work to find the best way to both minimise your water payments and reduce your overall water usage.  All you need to do is fill out the Customer Authority Form below (authorising us to access information on your water consumption from WaterCare).


Contact us to find out more…

Click here to download our water/waste water Customer Authority Form.