Homes, farms and businesses in Lake Country will be getting a new water meter installed sometime over the next two years.
This universal metering was approved by council as part of the Water Master Plan in 2012 after extensive public consultation and will measure water use to ensure sound management decisions and environmental stewardship.
The first phase will cost an estimated $1 million and will be funded through the existing water rate structure, which was approved for the 2014 budget.
“We all know how much gas it takes to fill our car’s tank, how much electricity we use to heat our homes, and how many minutes we spend talking on our phones. Now all of Lake Country’s water customers will also know how much water they are using,” said Mayor James Baker.
The implementation process will begin next month with agricultural connections in the Oyama area and business customers. Winfield, Carr’s Landing, and Okanagan Centre agricultural customers and residential connections are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015.
Meters will be supplied for free to existing single-family residential and agricultural customers, and the billing cycle won’t begin until at least 2017. In the meantime, water rates will increase each year until 2016 in order to pay the new plan.
Lake Country believes the Water Master Plan will ensure the area’s water system can support their growing community and will benefit in the following ways:
- Metering has been shown to reduce consumption by 15% to 30%, simply by providing water users with direct feedback;
- Those that use the feedback to make adjustments in consumption and conserve water will pay less;
- When a community uses less water, future water infrastructure upgrades can be reduced and deferred, saving rate payers money in the long term; and
- With better information, the District can more quickly identify and control leaky pipes.
Almost one-third of residential customers in Lake Country already have water meters and a 2012 analysis shows those customers use much less water than non-metered neighbours.
Residents will be contacted to make an appointment closer to the time retrofit meter installation in their area is scheduled. Installation takes approximately 90 minutes, during which the water has to be shut off for a short period of time. For domestic connections, most meters are easily installed in the basement near the main water shut-off valve. The work will be done by District staff or professional contractors who are experienced in installation procedures. At this time, no action is required by agricultural producers living outside of the Oyama area or by residential customers.
More information can be found on the district’s website.