Metro Vancouver proceeding with study to assess potential benefits of universal water metering program

Meters are costly but help curb water use

Metro Vancouver is researching the possibility of installing water meters for all homes in the region.

The two-year study will examine the environmental benefits as well as the economic costs.

Mayor_Darrell Mussatto 2014_trimmed_120p“Basically water metering is a way to charge people for how much water they use and that does help people reduce how much they consume,” says North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who is also the chair of Metro Vancouver’s utilities committee.

“It’s not a slam dunk,” Mussatto said, noting meters are very costly – $400 to $1,000 per home to install plus around $50 a year for reading and billing.

“It would cut down the use for sure, but you’d still have to raise X amount of dollars to pay for the system,” he said.

“If we put water meters in, what it does is shift who pays the bill, it doesn’t reduce the bill a tremendous amount,” Mussatto added.

The committee will have to decide if the environmental benefits would be worth the extra cost.

Mussatto says the study is also looking at other alternatives — including hiring additional bylaw officers to enforce water restrictions during dry summer months.

Homes in West Vancouver and White Rock already have water meters, as do all newly-built single and two-family homes in Vancouver.

The region is considering the move to water meters following one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

Stage 3 water restrictions were implemented in Metro Vancouver last summer for the first time since 2003.