Motion Monday at Osoyoos Council to delay further discussion for universal water metering……
The Town engaged Urban Systems in 2015 to complete a “Water Conservation & Metering Assessment.”’
In that assessment the following metering approaches for the community where outlined:
Universal Metering – where every water service connection is outfitted with a meter;
Voluntary Metering – where customers volunteer to have metering installed on their water service;
Scalable Metering – where meters are installed on specific group of customers or land uses; and
Pilot Metering – a deviation on scalable; but would be used to address metering technologies, etc.
To date the Town has installed a total of 266 water meters through development and select Industrial/Commercial/Institutional (ICI) properties.
The Town has been requiring inside meter placements on all new residential construction since the early 2000’s. Unfortunately these meter installations represent a small proportion of the total number of services within the community. With approximately 4000 individual water sites, the Town has only metered 6.7% of the community through this process. The report by Urban Systems outlines key reasons for universal metering as well as some possible hurdles: “By measuring all water that is distributed to customers, in addition to all water extracted from supply sources, system management benefits are maximized. For example, leakage and unaccounted for water use can be accurately quantified and proactively managed. When coupled with a well-structured rate schedule, universal metering facilitates equitable billing since all customers are charged based on actual consumption. Notwithstanding the benefits of a universal metering program, it is important to recognize potential challenges with this approach. Installing meters at all existing properties in a service area can represent a significant initial investment. The ongoing costs associated with reading, maintaining, testing, and replacing these meters can also be substantial.
The highest return on investment is realized when the utility leverages the system management, customer service, resource management and other “ancillary” benefits of a universal metering program beyond simply revenue recovery.” Some of the other ‘ancillary’ benefits of a universal metering program would be the ability to incentivize water conservation with greater fairness and equity for both water and wastewater users. In order to move forward with universal metering, an implementation plan needs to be created outlining the steps the Town will take as well as the financial requirements and methods needed to deploy meters throughout the community.
The Implementation Plan would address concerns like:
• Inside vs Outside Meters
• One meter, one property approach or multiple meters on multi-family developments or mixed use sites
• Type of meters and reading technology o Mobile (AMR) or fixed network (AMI)
• Cost requirements
• Grant funding availability
• Ongoing operating costs
• Rollout methodology including Public Communication
• Software and hardware requirements
• Ongoing installation needs and recommendations and Who is responsible?
• Finance Department impacts and funding strategy Staff is estimating a budget of $125,000.00 for the creation of the Water Metering Implementation Plan.
This budget would be provided via Capital Reserves established for water metering; current reserve levels are $500,000.00.
The Implementation Plan will not address meter manufacture as we are already moving forward with Neptune meters throughout the system; most recently the domestic system upgrade to the north of town (System 8 Area). Meter manufactures were also addressed with Council in 2016 via a technical memo from TRUE Consulting.
The memo provided some guidance on reading technology as well as meter manufacture. Point of note: universal water metering could result in capital requirements as high as $3.5 million or more depending on the installation and reading method chosen. Once decisions on universal water metering have been made a process of rate design would ensue to ensure that implementation achieves desired outcomes of water conservation, fairness and equity, rate and cost stability and sustainability of service delivery.
An item on a $125 thousand study on the issue will be decided upon Monday,
Source: Town of Osoyoos