Warning, totally non-house building content follows...
Now, I'm not a mad greenie environmentalist, nor am I a rabidly selfish consumer. I'd like to think I'm somewhere in the reasonable middle - I'll separate plastics and paper for recycling, but I won't stop driving my car and loving it (the stupidity of electric cars - now that's another rant for another day!).
The seed of this story begins in our latest water bill. Of course, there's not been much consumption in the last 3 months - which only highlights the fact that of our $200 water bill, only $10 (or 5%) was put down to actual consumption. The rest comes from service charges, parks charges, disposal charges.
This comes back to the Target 155 campaign - no-one in our country could doubt that we're in a pretty dry land, recent downpours excluded. But just think what happens when we all start to save water... consumption drops, water companies make less from consumption. Now we can't have our poor utility companies making anything less than record profits, so naturally it's entirely justifiable for general rates to increase by up to 60%. Not to mention raising unavoidable non-consumption related charges....
Anyway I'm sure I haven't really thought things through thoroughly and our charges are more than reasonable and fair in order to have safe drinking water straight out of the tap. If you like to drink "designer" water from plastic bottles because it's "better than tap water", then obviously you like burning money (since you're paying a 432345443232454% markup on the water content) and poisoning your body, not to mention the environmental effects of all these plastic bottles being pumped out. So just stop.
Where were we going with this? erm... water usage? Right - now if the "responsible authority" really wanted to reduce water consumption, and believes in the kindergarten level teaching that if something's more expensive you'll buy less of it theory, they would scrap noncontributory fixed service charges and focus purely on a consumption charge. ie the more you use, the more you pay, with a logarithmic scaling so that really excessive users end up paying $15/l of water. As it stands, the average family could double their consumption and pay maybe $200 to $400 more per year, not chickenfeed but not really a deterrent.
Don't get me wrong - I'm definitely in favour of saving water and have been using heaps less than Target 155; I don't shower, don't brush my teeth, and drink tequila rather than water with my lunch. The problem is, apart from the nice smug feeling you get inside from being a water scrooge, you don't get any tangible reward from saving water, and you certainly won't get lower water bills.
Postscript: All comment in this post originates from Tim (not Tina) and is based entirely on the theory that anyone who can write anything on the internet is an instant expert and cannot be disputed, but endless arguments may follow.