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Complications due to the "shocking" way water connections in Roxburgh were done in the past have seen the cost of water-meter installation escalate and funding run dry.
This has prompted the Roxburgh Community Board to bring forward funding allocated for next year. The board recently heard the $43,000 allocated for meter installation in the 2011-12 financial year had already been used to fix up or replace the reticulation network and an estimated $41,000 would be needed to meet the requirements of the 2009-19 Long Term Plan.
The board had proposed to start billing commercial properties on July 1, 2013, but in February the Central Otago District Council agreed to provide users with 12 months of data before any form of billing. This means meters must be installed at commercial properties this financial year. To meet this deadline, the board agreed to bring forward $90,500 worth of funds allocated for the 2012-13 year.
Board chairman Stephen Jeffery said though it was future funding "it's [water meter installation] going to happen anyway" and it was "money already budgeted, but it's just going to be spent sooner". To compensate, the board would look at reprogramming its long-term plan when it was reviewed next year.
The way Roxburgh had been built, with connections added "ad hoc" over the years, was "shocking", Mr Jeffery said.
"People [have been] hooking in on old lines so sometimes two or three people were on the one line, but today that is unacceptable."
The water-meter installation programme requires each property to have its own metered connection. Since July 2009, 142 water meters have been installed in Roxburgh and Lake Roxburgh Village. Most (119) were residential, and the rest (23) commercial, with 322 residential and 30 commercial meters still to be installed. Roxburgh is the only ward in Central Otago that is not billing commercial properties.