Wednesday, May 07, 2008

disincentive to save water

having now lived in my townhouse for about half a year, i recently paid the bill my first full 3 months of water usage (the previous bill being for a 3 month period, part of which related to the time before i moved in).

during this 3 month period, two people live in the house. we had guests stay for about one week (4 adults and a child), but we were away overseas for about two weeks, so on average we have two people in the house. we:

  • have a new water efficient front loader washing machine
  • recycle the grey water from 1-2 times per week we do laundry
  • recycle some of the water used during cooking (eg. the water used to wash rice)
  • don't use our garden taps (i think i've turned on one taps once, and that was just to rinse a bucket)
  • water our minimal collection of outdoor plants (when it's not raining) using a watering can
  • take very short showers (ok... i don't, but my wife does!)
  • don't have a pool
  • haven't washed the car, or any part of the outside of the house, or water the lawn

and yet our average daily household consumption for the period was 400L. when compared to the daily target of 140L/person under the current south east queensland water restrictions, we look positively wasteful. even the bill tells me that i'm dragging the ball - my local area household daily average is about 320L and the brisbane average is about 290L.

there are no water leaks that i've discovered or am otherwise aware of, besides a touchy toilet which i'm in the process of taming. the real culprit, i suspect, is my neighbourhood. that's right, i'm blaming everyone else who lives in my townhouse complex, and the complex itself. you see, one of the joys of being a lot owner in a strata title scheme is that i get the privilege of paying for the average water usage of the entire complex. (i don't know if this is the case for all strata title schemes, but it's certainly so for the one in which i live.)

my complex has 66 lots, and we all share the one water meter. so each lot owner pays 1/66th of the total usage of the complex. the complex does have a (pitifully) small pool and spa, and an irrigation system for the gardens on the common property. but it has also got a rainwater tank. so whether it's the complex or the other residents in the complex, i'm sure i'm paying for other people's water usage. doing the maths shows that for every additional kilolitre of water i use, i would only need to spend about 1.8c, with the rest being "subsidised" by my fellow lotowners. conversely, for every additional kilolitre of water that one of the other 65 lots uses, i have to pay an extra 1.8c.

if i were cynical i'd say that's an invitation to use more water so that you're not the sucker of a water miser who still ends up paying for the usage of the not so miserly! but i suppose it's still worthwhile to develop good water saving habits in case i move out of such a scheme in future...

No comments:

Post a Comment