Softer water will mean lower power bills - 8/12/2006At the next Strategy Committee meeting of the Wanganui District Council, set for Thursday 14 December, councillors will be told that if Wanganui goes ahead with the option of softer water, then considerable savings will result for every Wanganui household.
Heating water accounts for around 45% of a household's power bill, and losses from scale build up can range from 12% to 30%. On an average household bill of $100 per month, hard water could account for an additional $80 to $200 per annum.
This does not take into account the larger costs of actually replacing hot water cylinder elements and increased soap and laundry powder consumption – direct results of hard water usage.
Obviously softer water would also result in savings for industrial users and commercial activities such as laundries and motels.
At the initiative of Mayor Michael Laws, the council began exploring the feasibility of providing softer water for both Wanganui residents and businesses in March 2005. Mr Laws has adopted the provision of soft water as something of a personal, political crusade.
Julian Reweti, Infrastructure Manager, will report to the council that although the pilot programme has not yet been completed, early indications are that both source water security and softness "could be achieved at substantially reduced costs than earlier estimates".
The original estimate in the 10-Year Plan to provide new bores to secure the city's water supply, regardless of softness, was $5.4M. It is now expected that new bores would cost in the order of $1.8M to $2.5M and would provide softer water.
The pilot programme so far shows that a mix of soft water sources, blended with Kai Iwi water, plus a softening plant, could provide a softer water solution.
Investigations are currently about two-thirds complete, with one pilot bore completed at the reservoir, another underway at Tayforth Road and scheduled to be completed before Christmas this year, and a third scheduled for completion by the end of January.