Author Topic: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!  (Read 7203 times)

Offline ageofaquarius

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2012, 02:58:16 AM »
We are one of the fortunate few on well water, and do not abuse it, no baths or dishwasher. A friend who lives nearby her water is on a meter. Her last quarter (kids were back from uni) was over £100 a quarter, usually about £40.  When I lived in town eons ago it was on average £12 a quarter, so looks like people who have pools/power showers etc are really having to pay for them.  must cost a fortune. 

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: the Water Meter controversy
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2012, 06:02:49 PM »
A friend who lives nearby her water is on a meter. Her last quarter (kids were back from uni) was over £100 a quarter, usually about £40.  When I lived in town eons ago it was on average £12 a quarter, so looks like people who have pools/power showers etc are really having to pay for them.  must cost a fortune.

You have indirectly exposed something controversial here- the water meter issue. On one side is the need to conserve water; on the other is the concern about whether this will lead to lower standards of hygiene and, in particular, how the very poorest families with children will be affected.

This article in The Independent by Nigel Hawkes suggests that not only does the policy of installing water meters for free not save much water (because the people who are having them installed tend not to be the highest consumers of water), but that it also represents a transfer of money from the most deserving to the least deserving:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/nigel-hawkes-meters-dont-save-water-ndash-they-pump-cash-from-poor-to-rich-2004791.html

Remarkably, the first claim above (that metering doesn't actually save water) appears to have been confirmed by Jersey Water's Howard Snowden when he was questioned by a Scrutiny Panel in 2004:

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"I think, from our records, people are more careful with the water initially, until they get used to their bills, and they get used to their water consumption, but I don't think - and I think the case is the same with the trials in the UK - there's no great evidence to suggest that, in the longer term, metered customers use less water, but they're more conscious of their water use."

The source for the above quote is on page 9 of this document:

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/ScrutinyReviewTranscripts/2004/Transcript%20-%20Draft%20Water%20Resources%20Law%20-%20The%20Jersey%20New%20Waterworks%20Company%20Limited%20-%2019%20July%202004.pdf

Other interesting snippets I picked up from reading the above document:

* Jersey could be classified as an 'area of water scarcity' because it has a fresh water availability per capita of less than 1,000 m3 a year per person. The figure quoted for Jersey is 444 m3, but this was based on a population of only 90,000 so I would presume that an equivalent figure today for Jersey's water availability would be even lower.

* When nitrate levels are particularly high, Jersey Water can use the present reverse osmosis desalination plant to try to blend those nitrate levels down, whereas this was not feasible with the original desalination plant (the 'old thermal steam plant') because the operating costs were twice as high.

If the States were doing their job properly, the intention by Jersey Water to get most of their customers onto water meters would be the subject of regular contested debate in the house, but, as we know, our system of political representation is not fit for purpose so the important questions about water metering, vis-a-vis low income families with children, remain unanswered.

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2012, 05:56:21 PM »
The latest statistics from Jersey Water confirm how very wet this summer has been. Water in store at the end of August 2012 was a very healthy 91% of capacity, well above the 10-year average level expected at this time of year (about 74%). By comparison, this time last year, water in store had dropped to about 68% of capacity with the dry conditions- and things were about to get far worse during the autumn. The graph included with the water storage statistics (link below) graphically illustrates how far water levels fell last year- and how quickly they recovered again with the above-average rainfall in December backed up by desalination:

http://www.jerseywater.je/pdffiles/operational_data/water_in_store.pdf

Monthly rainfall levels have seen drastic variations this year: less than half the 10-year average during February and March 2012, but nearly three times above the average in April, just below average in May, almost double the average in June, and about 14% above average in both July and August:

http://www.jerseywater.je/pdffiles/operational_data/total_rainfall.pdf

Personally, I seem to recall the whole of August's rainfall dropping on me in about the space of an hour one Friday afternoon!  >:(

Some people may wish to try the Met Office's new website. You can set the map option to 'rainfall', then change your location by typing in Jersey, or your postcode. You should then be able to choose from several locations within the island (e.g. Havre des Pas). You can zoom the map in a bit closer to the Channel Islands if you prefer. The rainfall radar updates every 15 minutes, which gives you a fairly good idea of whether we are about to be hit by a passing raincloud (as is happening as I write this now!):

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observations/?tab=map
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 06:14:55 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline danrok

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2012, 03:15:05 AM »
That Met Office map is very good!

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2013, 07:34:50 PM »
Jersey Water announces higher tariffs and standing charges for 2013:

http://jersey.isle-news.com/archives/jersey-water-announces-2013-tariffs/15770/

The tariffs will increase by "approximately 2%" and the company will introduce a tiered standing charge, dependent on the size of the customer's meter. Currently there is a standard £20 charge.

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We have announced changes to our standing charges which have remained unchanged at £20 per annum for many years. From April 2013, the standing charge will range from £20.52 (for the vast majority of customers) to £125.05 per annum depending on the size of the customer’s meter. The tiered charge recognises the greater impact that the demand for water through larger connections has on the mains network.

I can only hope that they are right that the vast majority of customers will only see their standing charge rise by 52 pence per year. Coupled with the 2% tariff increase, any significant increases in water charges could quickly be passed on by landlords to their tenants and maybe used as an opportunity to hike the overall level of their rentals at the same time.

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2013, 06:37:11 PM »
According to yesterday's Jersey Evening Post, Jersey Water are saying that "large blocks of flats" which only have one meter will be affected by the new higher standing charges. What exactly do they mean by large?

Personally, I now suspect that these charges may hit the majority of tenants at the lower end of the private sector rental market, as well as those living in unqualified lodging accommodation. Many will be living in older buildings that have been converted into flats and are probably not on a new metered supply. They may typically only share the property with 2-5 other tenants. Individually, there is no way that these people could ever be classed as anything other than the smallest consumers of water- most are one or two-person households. Yet collectively, they will probably now be regarded by Jersey Water as a higher consumer of water, which is totally unfair if this turns out to be the case. It is another sneaky stealth tax on those whose circumstances give them no opportunity to avoid it- a way of making those who are not yet on a metered supply forced to pay more anyway.

http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2013/01/31/jersey-water-to-put-prices-up/#comment-245180

Offline Calimachon

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2013, 03:15:06 PM »
Not at all surprised at what Jersey Water are doing.  I realised once that the majority of households were on meter that the prices would continue to rise.  I am sure they will continue to rise.  It certainly has made me more aware of every drop of water I use and our household of two are well below the average.

Cali

Drink beer!  Install loads of water butts (especially for watering plants) and throw a piece of silver in the butt to purify if drinking!  Throw away your washing machine, wash by hand!   

Any other useful ideas would be welcome.
TOMORROW (Noun) = A mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation an achievement is stored

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2013, 07:04:12 PM »
Not at all surprised at what Jersey Water are doing.  I realised once that the majority of households were on meter that the prices would continue to rise.  I am sure they will continue to rise.  It certainly has made me more aware of every drop of water I use and our household of two are well below the average.

If you read my post of 20th March 2012 above, I provide very good evidence that metering doesn't actually save much water. The Independent article by Nigel Hawkes, quoting the theories of Dr Simon Cowan of the University of Oxford, is an eye-opening criticism of the policy of free installation of water meters on demand. Here are two extracts:

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But is it good policy? Only if you believe that people with large houses and few occupants should be subsidised by those with big families living in smaller houses – put more crudely, the rich by the poor. Those with the greatest incentive for switching live in houses with high rateable values, but don't use a lot of water. As a rule of thumb, if your house has more bedrooms than people, you should switch.

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So while social utility would best be served by metering families with children who use a lot of water and would respond by using less, what has actually happened is the opposite. Those who opt for metering are older or childless couples, people living alone, or those who know they don't use much water. They are the least likely to cut consumption, even if metered water prices rise. As things stand, they can use the same amount of water and save money, so the cost of installing the meter is borne by those less able to pay.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/nigel-hawkes-meters-dont-save-water-ndash-they-pump-cash-from-poor-to-rich-2004791.html

Those comments above refer to the right on the mainland to choose whether or not to have a water meter installed for free and to that extent at least, the same phenomenon will be happening in Jersey- those who choose of their own free will tend to save money because they know they will be better off. However, what Jersey effectively has now is compulsory water metering for all new properties being connected to the supply- and no debate on the rights or wrongs of it in the States Chamber either.  >:( Therefore it is possible that some Jersey families are now worse off as a result of being forced to switch to meters, because they had no choice.

Evidence of this can be seen in a series of comments at No.2 on thisisjersey.com this week (link below); two people (myview and roombay42) say that their bills have dropped since having a meter installed and they naturally presume that this is the case for everyone else. However, two others (Jersey Boy and Farmer Geddon) both respond by claiming that their bills have increased by about 125% since having one installed, although they don't say over what period of time that rise has taken place. It is interesting that Farmer Geddon, living in a retired two-person household, would appear to be a typical small consumer of water who you would expect to benefit from having a meter installed. I can't explain that one, unless the rateable value of his property was set well below the island average due to the individual rating policy in the parish where he lives (just a theory- were some of the rural parishes possibly deliberately under-rating their properties in the days before Income Support because they had to pay out so very little in welfare support compared to the urban parishes?)

http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2013/01/31/jersey-water-to-put-prices-up/
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 07:12:32 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Calimachon

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2013, 05:08:29 AM »
I know historically that householders living in old houses have also been informed that a meter will be installed within their properties within a couple of days - there is no choice involved at all.  This does not only apply to new properties.

From what you have written in the last post there doesn't seem to be equity in the assessment of water rates.  Further research and investigation needed then eh?  So the poor bashing goes on!

Why aren't our Government protecting it's citizens or do we have some the fat cats sitting in government?  Oh!  Don't bother to answer that we an all guess the answer!

Cali
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Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2013, 09:57:27 PM »
I know historically that householders living in old houses have also been informed that a meter will be installed within their properties within a couple of days - there is no choice involved at all.  This does not only apply to new properties.

I thought the policy only applied to new properties/connections, but maybe I'm wrong. Reading this extract again from their latest Press release does make me wonder whether it might actually apply to all properties after all:

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The company is now half way through the programme of installing meters on all connections to the mains water network by 2016. We have now largely completed metering in the Northern and Western parishes and, in 2013 the Company will focus its metering programme on areas in St Clement’s, Grouville and parts of St Helier. Any customer who wishes to have a meter fitted ahead of the Company’s programme can still do so by contacting the company on 707301.

There's little point in asking others if they know what the situation is because there simply aren't enough people reading these boards and/or bothering to make meaningful researched contributions. Frankly I was amazed I managed to get even one reply on the subject of these increased water charges. This is most definitely an area that backbench politicians should be asking questions about, but other than Southern, I can't see that happening.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 10:01:05 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Calimachon

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2013, 01:50:00 PM »
I know someone who was presented with a letter informing them that a new meter would be installed into their old property.  They said that they probably could have refused but decided not face the hassle.

Shame more people don't come here to discuss the nitty gritty things in a quiet factual manner.  It is getting far more expensive these days to go to the village pump (The Pub) to get an idea of how the land lies on some of these matters.

Cali :)
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Offline man in the street

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Re: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2013, 01:16:42 AM »
 heres  a laugh ,   18 months or so ago  the  house i am  renovating  had  the  whole  yard  dug up  for new drains and  the neighbors too   i asked the water works, " the yards  dug up  do you want  to fit  your meter?"
" no "was  the reply .

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Water
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2013, 08:21:35 PM »
I found this reference to water meters in the Island Plan 2011, part 9.19 (see my bold highlight added to this extract):

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Jersey Water has in place an extensive programme to reduce wastage of treated water, involving renewing and repairing leaks in mains, installing water meters when properties change ownership, hosepipe charges and public information material on using water wisely. 


http://consult.gov.je/portal/adopted/pd/ip2011?pointId=1311673606831

What I would really like to know is the exact extent of this metering policy and whether any of it was actually approved by our political representatives through legislation or other means. It would be interesting to see what might happen if they turned up on the door of a human rights campaigner and tried to force that campaigner to accept a metered supply and he refused. If the campaigner subsequently took them to court. what arguments would Jersey Water rely on to prove they had the right to force the campaigner to accept a metered supply?  :-\