A new water meter system is not meant to be a “tax grab” but will rather help homeowners identify leaks and reduce water consumption, says members of Stratford council.
Council approved two resolutions to purchase and install 2,600 water meters in the town, at costs of $837,169 and $443,458.50 including HST respectively, during this month’s council meeting.
The meters, which will be purchased from Neptune Technology Group, will be able to accurately measure and record flows as low as 0.1 litres per minute.
Deputy mayor Randy Cooper, who read the resolutions for infrastructure committee chairman and Mayor David Dunphy, said installing meters was not a “tax grab” and the project is part of Stratford’s sustainability platform.
“It’s not that the town is out to grab every little drop… we want to work with residents to identify the fact they have leaks in their system and that it would be best for them, the environment, the town’s stability and sustainability to have those leaks fixed,” said Cooper.
Dunphy agreed and said the town is not looking to “get every cent from every drop.”
“But what these Neptune meters will do is, if there’s a small little drip somewhere in the home, the homeowner will be aware of what it is,” said Dunphy, adding that the meters will also keep records for about a month and a half.
“We can actually go back to a certain date to demonstrate when the problem started occurring.”
Dunphy said the use of water meters generally decreases water consumption by 25 per cent.
He said the project has also been discussed for years as part of the town’s sustainability vision.
“And now here we are,” said Dunphy. “(There was) a great job by staff on this, and I’m very comfortable with where we’re going with this.”
The meters also have a “drive by” system of checking levels through a wireless connection. A town staffer will be able to check water consumption when driving by a meter, making it possible to check all the town’s meters within a day.
The overall budget for the metering program is being split between the town’s 2017 and 2018 budget.
While the $837,169 meter price to purchase the meters from Neptune was higher than the other two received tenders, which were $733,450 and $780,993, council heard the other meters were unable to accurately measure water flow below half a litre per minute.
Over 20 years, using the cheaper meters would have resulted in a loss of revenue (of either $1.4 million or $668,420 depending on the supplier) from unbilled water usage.
“Over lifecycle costs, there’s no question (Neptune) is the meter we should be going with,” said Cooper.
Council also voted to award Neptune the installation tender at a cost of $443,458.50. Neptune was cheaper and received a higher evaluation rating than the other two received tenders for meter installation.