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THE HEART OF THE OKANAGAN
British Columbia, Canada
 


 

Lake Country implements universal water metering

News Release

Lake Country, BC – Over the next two years, farms, homes and businesses in the District of Lake Country will be supplied with a water meter. Meters measure water use, which is essential information for making sound management decisions and environmental stewardship. Universal metering was approved by Council as part of the Water Master Plan in 2012 after an extensive public consultation process.  The first phase of water metering, estimated at $1 million funded from within the existing water rate structure, was approved within 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.

Implementation will begin in April 2014 with agricultural connections in the Oyama area, as well as with business customers. It is expected to take several months to complete these retrofit installations. Winfield, Carr’s Landing, and Okanagan Centre agricultural customers and residential connections are scheduled to begin next year, in Spring 2015.

Meters are being supplied to existing single-family residential and agricultural customers for free.  There are no plans to charge newly-metered customers based on their consumption until at least 2017 after a ‘mock billing’ cycle. Through the Water Master Plan water rates have already been approved to increase each year until 2016 to fully fund implementation of the Water Master Plan. Initiatives, such as universal metering, detailed in the Water Master Plan will ensure Lake Country’s water system can support our growing community and is resilient to future climate and regulatory changes.

The benefits of water metering are numerous:

  • 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.

About one-third of residential customers in Lake Country already have water meters. Analysis conducted in 2012 found that these customers use much less water than their non-metered neighbours. Providing everyone with a meter will make the system fairer and reduce overall consumption in the District.

“Information is empowering,” says Greg Buchholz, Operations Manager. “We only have access to so much water. Knowing how much we’re using is the responsible thing to do.”

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.

The District’s website lakecountry.bc.ca has more information on the project, including a Frequently Asked Questions section. Click on the Universal Metering Quick Link for all the details.  You can also track project progress by connecting with the District on Facebook or Twitter.

 

For more information contact:

Greg Buchholz, Operations Manager, District of Lake Country
Tel 250-766-5650 (ext. 222) or gbuchholz@lakecountry.bc.ca

Stephen Banmen, Chief Financial Officer, District of Lake Country
Tel 250-766-5650 (ext. 209) or sbanmen@lakecountry.bc.ca

 

Listen to a radio interview with Stephen Banmen on CBC Radio Daybreak South March 17, 2014.

 

 

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