Letter to the Editor: No need for water meters

There are many reasons not to go ahead with the planned water meter program.

There are many reasons not to go ahead with the current water meter program Grand Forks’ mayor and city council are hastily trying to implement.

It is a serious health and security risk. It forces the homeowners to bear an unfair cost penalty if they want to avoid the health or security risk. The people just don’t want it. Many question the need for it at all.

Here is some information you may not be aware of:

Creston, as a single example of successful water management without household metering, has implemented a water conservation program that includes addressing mains leakage, public awareness/education, reducing peak demand, water ambassadors… but no household meters. Many communities in the Columbia Basin are doing a similar program. Why not follow their lead? According to the website www.cbt.org/watersmart/cm-creston.asp, “From 2009 to 2013 the Town of Creston has achieved a 17 per cent decrease in gross community water demand…”

“What’s Working in Creston?

• Location and repair of leakage in the municipal distribution system.

• Extensive water loss management training for Creston’s water operations and management staff.

• Significant improvements to Creston’s capacity and expertise in water data collection and analysis.

• Implementation of a successful public education and outreach program (Water Smart Ambassador).

• Ongoing collaboration with RDCK (Erickson) on optimization of the shared water system”.

According to the Urban Systems Ltd. engineering water report of Dec. 4, 2013 to the City of Grand Forks: “While the aquifer appears to have sufficient capacity in the near term and long term, the hydrologist noted for the three largest wells that the current extraction rates from the water wells exceed the recommended rate…”  …so there is a need for more capacity and conservation. The report further states, “Installation in the near future of a new 71 Lps well, at a cost of approximately $615,000, will provide sufficient domestic and fire protection for the city until year 2024, based on an annual growth rate of 1 per cent. Further, this entire cost of $615,000 can be funded by Bylaw 1922, which has already been approved by the electorate of the City of Grand Forks.”

So why the need for household meters at all? We are really being duped!

The city water system has not been audited for leakage since 2006. Taxpayers are paying for the sum total of water pumped by the city, whether the water is delivered to us, or is leaking into the ground.

Apparently, we will be okay if we just go ahead and install the well, and come up with a with a sensible, cost effective water conservation plan…  much better than having hazardous water meters installed in our homes!

Mayor and city council are going to leave us with a huge, very expensive mess. They’ve committed to spending over $1.3 million dollars of taxpayer money on a plan that won’t work. We need to stop them now and redirect those funds to a workable program.

Wayne Tblus,

Grand Forks