This is not really an extra charge. It is proposed to replace the current city sewerage rates (taxes) which are based, not on usage, but on the value of the property. A $600K house will pay much more in sewerage rates than a $200K apartment.
The water coming in is provided by the Water Corporation (in Western Australia). It is charged out at a sliding scale. The unit cost increases with increased usage. The more you use, the more you pay.
What this proposal would do is base the city sewerage rates on what you actually use. If, instead of pulling the plug on the tub, you scooped out the water and used it on your garden, you would not have to pay sewerage rates on it. It is no longer just going down the drain. Using the water twice when you are experiencing severe water shortages is a good idea. Most toilets here have a dual flush system anyway as a water conservation method - full flush and half flush. I don’t think you’d have to compromise your health and not flush when you need to. The article just said that some people may go so far as to not flush as often to save money.
We already have a hose installed that allows us to dump the washing machine water out onto the lawn. There are other ‘grey water’ systems the plumber can install to reclaim the reusable ‘grey water’ so the only water going into the sewerage system is from the toilets. This is an expensive intial outlay so there is little incentive to do it. If you could save considerably on your sewerage rates, there might be more of these grey water systems installed.
Before I came to Australia, I was told by some Australians I knew that, when it was very dry, they would use one tub of water for the whole family to bathe in, one after another, and then would tip it out on the veggie patch.
A few years ago, we had a water crisis in my town. Our water is supplied by a 600 kilometre pipeline from Mundaring. There had been a problem and it wasn’t coming into our storage dams. They allowed us to get to 2 days supply left before telling us. :eek: We were asked not to use water as much as possible with no water usage outside at all. We were asked not to shower or bathe, not to use our washing machines or dishwashers and to reuse what water we could. This lasted for 7 days, till they were able to solve the problem and refill the dams. Obviously, no one was looking into our showers to see if we were bathing. They were counting on everyone pulling together to overcome the problem.