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Charging residents on town supplies for the volume of water used rather than giving them an allocation was preferred by the Central Otago District Council yesterday and recommended to the four community boards as a model to set water rates.
The community boards will consider water charges this month to be included in the council's draft estimates meeting on April 4.
Once approved, the estimates will be included in the draft 2012-22 long-term plan, to go for public consultation in late April.
"As an average user, you'll be no worse off [than under the current allocation model] ... If you use less, you'll generally pay less," councillor Neil Gillespie said.
In a report to the council, water services manager Russell Bond said the allocation model caused too much confusion and was seen as unfair because some low users would be charged for water they were not using.
His report recommended the uniform annual charge, the base rate for water included in rates, should continue to be set for each ward's scheme based on the schemes' operating costs.
Subject to community board approval, the minimum charge per cubic metre of water will be 50c. Roxburgh and Maniototo community boards have indicated they might raise that to 75c to lower the annual uniform charge which would have a lesser effect on any rates rise.
The charge will not apply to Patearoa (on a rural supply) or independent bulk supplies.
It is recommended volumetric charging come into effect from July 1.