Petition taps into anti-meter mood

The number of people who signed a Clyde-based petition against water meters presented to the Central Otago District Council yesterday represents more than half the town's population.

Almost 500 people signed the petition, which was taken door-to-door in the town, and left in shops and businesses there.

Clyde is listed on the CODC's website as having a population of 918.

One of the men behind the petition, Dave Tyrrell, of Clyde, said while not all the addresses of those who signed the petition were in Clyde, most were, and those who signed it must have at least visited the town recently.

Community feeling was firmly against the installation of water meters and charging for the use of water that had an allocation totally inadequate for the basic needs of Central Otago users, Mr Tyrrell said.

"Of all the people we spoke to, only one said no [to signing]."

The issue involved not just Clyde but the whole of Central Otago, Mr Tyrrell said.

"If we had taken the petition right around Central Otago, there would be more than 5000 signatures on it."

The petition requested that the CODC immediately stop installing water meters and charging for excess water use.

The water allocation of 250 litres per person per day was based on usage in other parts of New Zealand and was not enough for Central Otago, he said.

"No concession at all is made that we are the hottest, driest part of the country, with the lowest rainfall.

On top of this we have well-drained, light soils which respond to water but tend to need more than other parts of the country."

The allocation was based on water used inside the home and disadvantaged those who wanted to have a garden, Mr Tyrrell said.

"To grow anything at all here you need to have water.

"The water allowances are unsatisfactory and are causing concern among families who fear they will not even meet their basic needs inside the house, let alone be enough for gardens.

"It's a tax on people who want to garden, which is wrong."

CODC mayor Malcolm Macpherson told Mr Tyrrell and fellow Clyde residents John Geraniols and Tony Atoll, who presented the petition to the council, water meters were on the agenda for the next council meeting.


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