We have ourselves a problem.
For a bit of perspective and an idea of how others have approached this matter of water conservation, here’s how the Town of Sparwood did things: Their slate of mayor and council were elected without any fuss on the platform of installing meters.
Everyone got the option of whether to install or not and they got 100 per cent compliance. Naturally. The option was otherwise pay a flat rate of $450 per month. This was based using the metered cost of running a 3/4″ line full out 24 hours a day.
And when you think about it, it makes sense. Can you imagine the uproar if the option was to remain at present flat rates with some 60 per cent or more of residents being metered? It would be impossible to monitor those without meters.
Now, also, after three years of monitoring metered water usage, surprise, surprise, the consumption has dropped! Wasn’t that the idea? To conserve the use of water and to curb wastage?
The problem is that consumption has declined to the point at which the town will now have to raise its rates since they are experiencing a revenue shortage. That’s right. Ratepayer taxes, whether by a gas tax grant or otherwise, has paid millions for water meter installations and those ratepayers will now find their rates increased!
At least the Town of Sparwood did not have infrastructure replacement problems like we do. We’re going to end up with metered water usage, increased rates and the same leaky infrastructure that will eventually need repairing. I can’t see any other viable alternatives.
Stan Halluk, Grand Forks