In the past couple of years Cost of Electricity per kw has risen over 20%. Part due to rising costs and part due to market liberalization. In urbanizations and communities with large communal areas this has created an enormous increase in community costs, while communities generally add a 5% annual increase in their budgets, such changes are quiet drastic and easily create a budget deficit. However Electricity is not the main variable. The cost of water per cubic meter and its usage is often one that is rarely considered. It is not uncommon for urbanization and communities to have just one water meter and share the cost between owners according to coefficient. This type of cost sharing has many disadvantages.
First of all, it is estimated that on average, in shared cost scenarios people tend to spend approximately 20% more water and do not repair leaking toilet flushes or care so much about the amount of water used. A simple leaking toilet could cost a community somewhere between €423 and €489 per annum.
Next issue, is that there are many pipes and taps around and a simple underground leak can go unnoticed for months, if not years.
In El Porton de Mijas, an urbanization in Mijas, Malaga, David Pelham, managed to get to the bottom of this issue. He worked out that on average his water use in OK was approximately 70 cubic metres per person per year. Using this and applying a slightly higher measure (allowing for more summer showers) he calculated the bill for his urbanization. Soon he discovered something was terribly wrong. They were paying an enormous fee. Upon investigation it turned out that the Town Hall had been billing them based on 22 properties rather than the 40 properties that were in the complex. This meant that the standard quota that is assigned to each house at 5 cubic meters per month, instead of being 200 cubic meters per months, was only 110 cubic meters. The cost per cubic meter of water increases drastically upto nearly 1.20 € per cubic meter if you use up your allocated quota and this could mean a huge increase if you have a simple leak or a neighbour that does not take care of its leaking toilets or taps.
While water supply is still much cheaper in Spain than the UK, David estimates that on a yearly basis the Community has lost approximately 2000 euro per year because of the quota issue and a further 2000 to 3000 euro due to leaking toilets and undetected leaks in the garden or elsewhere.
In total, David has managed to save his community thousands of euros using simple calculation and common knowledge.
There are now plenty of digital water meter readers that can also monitor and report leaks plus many more web applications that help with the maintenance and upkeeing of communities. I hope that this article has saved as a catalyser for Presidents and committee to look more actively for solutions that don’t cost or the costs are immediately converted into savings and a better future.