GF moves forward with water metre project
Starting this coming spring, Grand Forks residents will only be paying for the water that they use. The new water metre program is expected to reduce energy requirements and save the city and residents money.
The two main goals of the project are for the city to deliver safer, more reliable drinking water and to manage the demand, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Doug Allin explained to city council at their committee of the whole meeting, Nov. 12.
According to the City, each Grand Forks resident uses about 3,000 cups of water a day, which is one-third higher than the provincial average.
By reducing the amount of water used, the city is expecting to save on the energy costs because the water is drawn from a well.
We could save several millions of dollars in the long run because we don’t need to upgrade the pipes in the future, said Allin at the Nov. 12 meeting. The pipes might need to be upgraded sooner as the population grows or because higher use wears them out faster.
Allin acknowledged that educating the public will be an ongoing process and some customers won’t be happy at first. He feels that through education, concerned residents will understand that this is better for the community.
“We often don’t realize just how much water we use when we sprinkle our lawns or wash our cars,” says Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor. “Yet, maintaining our water infrastructure – the system to treat and deliver water to our homes and businesses and remove wastewater – is one of the most expensive services we provide as a City. Conserving the amount of water we use will save everyone in terms of the tax dollars needed to replace the system. Plus, water meters give residents the ability to control their costs based on how much they use.”
Grand Forks already has a water metre system in place for industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-family properties, which will make it easier to extend the water metre system to residences.
West Kelowna, Oliver, Penticton, Summerland, Peachland and Lumby already have have water metres in place.
The project is estimated to cost $1.3 million and will be funded through the Gas Tax fund so there won’t be any increases in local taxation to cover the cost. The city plans on concluding the project by the fall of 2015.