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Mission council contemplates water metering

  - Record file photo
— image credit: Record file photo

Mission is considering a water metering system in order to maximize the life span of the current supply.

The Strategic Long Term Water Supply and Demand Management Study, presented to council last week, outlined three options and recommended Mission and Abbotsford implement Wise Water Management (WWM) principles, which encourages conservation and delaying the addition of a new resource for as long as possible.

The three scenarios are:

• Status quo. The district would continue to educate and raise awareness on the date situation and offer rebates for low-flow toilets and high efficiency washing machines. Mission would need a new water source around 2021.

• Moderate. This is a voluntary water meter program which would result in about 18 per cent conservation, and would meet Mission's needs until 2034.

• High. A universal residential water meter program would be phased in over three years and conserve about 37 per cent. Mission would not need a new water source until around 2041.

The study, presented by Mike Younie, revealed a single family residential home in Mission uses about 60 per cent more water than an equivalent Abbotsford home.

Mission is using 466 litres of water per person per day, compared to Abbotsford's 293 litres in 2011, said Younie, adding there are signs Abbotsford's use has now declined to about 220.

"Mission has no incentive to conserve with a flat rate," explained Younie.

Abbotsford has had universal water metering in place for decades and upgraded to a radio read system last year.

Younie said there isn't a water crisis yet, and using WWM, there won't be one for 10 to 20 years.

He is recommending the district proceed with a universal water metering program.

When the district explored the issue a few years ago, a cost estimate of $12 million was quoted, but Younie said that is a very rough ballpark figure today.

In less than two years the district will have saved up about $6 million from Community Works Gas Tax Funds for this project, and look at internal borrowing before going to external sources, he said. There are also grants the district can apply for from senior governments.

Mission will not have funds to contribute to a new water source for 20 years and the district needs to make that clear to Abbotsford, said Younie.

The study also recommends examining new water sources, especially ones that would enhance the existing system, such as the one at Cannell Lake.

The report is being presented to the Mission Abbotsford Water Sewer Commission, both councils, and the public. Mission council wants to consult with residents about a water metering system before deciding.

The full report is available at mission.ca and will be presented at Mission council's Community Dialogue session, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Leisure Centre.

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