Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Appreciating You as We Improve Water Infrastructure

If you are on Municipal water, has your water meter been replaced yet? If not, do you have an appointment booked? Or, maybe you haven’t yet received an information brochure – you should expect one in the mail soon.

The water meter replacement program, which was officially launched in mid-April, is more than 64% complete! Residents have been contacting Neptune – the Town’s contractor – in record numbers to have their water meter upgraded to the new RF (Radio Frequency) meter; this replacement rate substantially exceeds projections because of the willingness and assistance of you and other residents! Thank you!

Why are we investing in our water infrastructure and replacing every water meter in Town, you ask?

Over the last few years, residents and the Town have experienced several major challenges with the existing water meters. Whether it was one of the 800 gallon meters installed 40 years ago or one of many with an external “remote” from the 1980s, most meters were faulty, failing, or about to fail.

As the meters failed, billings dropped or changed. On a personal note, for example, we discovered that the remote meter outside our home was slow when compared to the meter inside. While the Town used the remote to calculate our bill, it didn’t bill for all of our water use; the meter in our basement tracked our actual water use instead. So, in 2008 the Town replaced our remote and meter and (rest assured) we settled the account by paying for the water we had consumed over the years.

Given the Town’s small staff, it would have taken 7 to 12 years to replace all water meters! So, together with the manufacturer – Neptune – we developed a plan to replace the old meters to the latest technology at a unit cost cheaper than we actually paid to purchase the meters (never mind install them)! Now, Town staff is only upgrading any newer equipment to the RF readers – like they did at our home in May.

Finally, the new Radio Frequency meters provide remote and accurate readings. Staff will read all water meters in half-a-day instead of the 14 days it currently takes. The meters can tell if you have a water leak, will report if someone tampers with it, and will be maintenance free for 20 years. Finally, the meters will help staff to find any leaks or water losses throughout the water system.

On behalf of Council and staff, I want to thank you and other residents for your amazing cooperation and commitment in making this replacement project a success for the whole community.