Limitoo News

Auckland water bills going up 7% from July

Water bills in Auckland are going up by 7 percent from 1 July, with inflation and Covid-19 being blamed.

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Photo: 123RF

Watercare said the price for 1000L of water will go up by about 12 cents from $1.70 to $1.82. This means households with average water use will pay about $1.50 more for water a week.

Wastewater charges will also increase, with every 1000L going up 20 cents from $2.96 to $3.17, and the fixed waste charge going up $17 a year, from $247 to $264.

Chief executive Jon Lamonte said operating costs had gone up in an environment hit by inflation, but the changes had been in the pipeline for some time.

"This is in line with the price path approved by the Board of Directors in December 2020 and included in Auckland Council's Long-Term Plan which was formally adopted in June 2021, following public consultation."

The past 12 months had been challenging, he said.

"Covid-19 has simultaneously pushed up our operating costs and caused inflationary pressure that's lifted construction costs. For example, we're now paying about 75 percent more for steel than we were 18 months ago, due to price increases to both buy and transport it.

"But despite rising costs, we are sticking to the price path we communicated last year."

Watercare has an $18.5b investment programme planned for maintenance, replacements, upgrades and expansions to infrastructure over the next 20 years.

The new Snells Beach Wastewater plant is under construction, and due to be finished in 2024 to treated discharges into the Mahurangi River.
The new Snells Beach Wastewater plant is under construction, and due to be finished in 2024 for treated discharges into the Mahurangi River. Photo: Supplied/ Watercare - Simon Runting

Lamonte said it was needed to cope with population growth and to ensure better environmental impacts.

"In the next financial year alone we'll be spending more than $700m on infrastructure."

Those projects include completion of Papakura Water Treatment Plant, work on the Central Interceptor wastewater tunnel, and construction of a new wastewater treatment plant at Snells Beach.

Lamonte said people who struggle with the increases should make contact with Watercare to discuss their options. Flexible payment plans are available, and Watercare funds the Water Utility Consumer Assistance Trust to help customers in hardship. In the past five years it has assisted about 600 customers.

"We understand that many Aucklanders are facing financial challenges at the moment, so we encourage our customers to get in touch with us if they're struggling to pay their bills."