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Greywater expert backs Council approval
The Kapiti Coast District Council’s decision to approve Plan Change 75 and make the fitting of a greywater system and/or rain tank compulsory in all new dwellings has been applauded by an expert in greywater irrigation.
Steven Roberts, Managing Director of Kapiti firm Watersmart, says legislating for the re-use of water from washing machines and bathrooms on the garden is a New Zealand first and will greatly benefit Kapiti ratepayers.
He says Kapiti’s historical summer water shortages are caused by residents using up to ten million litres of drinking quality water a day to water their gardens.
“This simply doesn’t make sense and is definitely not sustainable.
“As a result of the foresight shown by the Council and this Plan Change, capital expenditure on increasing water capacity can be deferred (creating huge savings on interest payments) and significant savings can also be made on stormwater and wastewater operating costs because there will be less volume needing treatment.
“At the moment 42 cents in every Kapiti ratepayer’s dollar is spent on water. This change will lessen the burden and help keep rate rises in check.”
Mr Roberts says that internationally, a combination of growing populations, changes in climate and ageing infrastructure are providing a strong incentive for regulatory bodies to investigate and adopt alternative water technologies.
“From Australia to the United States and Japan authorities are waking up to the fact that managing water better is a much wiser, more sustainable and more cost-effective alternative to increasing capacity.
“Spending on new infrastructure to support the wasteful use of water is not a good use of ratepayers’ money, especially given current economic conditions.”
Watersmart was founded five years ago when, after an extensive career in designing dairy factories, Mr Roberts returned to Kapiti with his family and was confronted with water restrictions.
Using his engineering background he designed a unique system that automatically re-directs greywater for use on the garden, reducing household water use by up to 50 percent.
He is now encouraging other New Zealand authorities to follow Kapiti’s lead and use a common sense solution to tackle a common problem as well as calling on Central Government to back greywater irrigation.
“I’d love to see water efficiency given the same priority as energy efficiency which the Government is tackling with their $300 million New Zealand Insulation Fund.
“A sprinkler uses 1000 litres of water an hour and over 1.4 million kiwis get out in the garden each year so it’s not hard to see the root cause of peak water use.
“There’s no reason changes to the Building Code, similar to those covering double-glazing and insulation standards, couldn’t be made.
“Making greywater irrigation compulsory in new homes and incentivising a retrofitting programme for existing homes is a much smarter way to manage our water and would stop local government spending more and more money on a resource which there is less and less of.
“Backing Greywater irrigation guarantees a water supply for the garden and would keep New Zealand green for generations to come.”