EDITORIAL: Time to meter

If Mission is to continue with a shared water system, meters are needed

The re-emergence of the water metering issue last week has prompted a fair amount of local debate.

The District of Mission is tethered, like it or not, for at least the foreseeable future, with Abbotsford as we share a water system.

Abbotsford has had water meters on residential and commercial properties for decades, and this puts Mission at a disadvantage because we don’t accurately know how much we use.

The debate re-surfaced when the Strategic Long Term Water Supply and Demand Management Study was presented to Mission council last week and it outlined a trio of options, including universal residential water metering.

Metering is one way that leaking water lines — a report to council earlier this year said about 17 per cent of Mission’s water usage is lost to leaks — could be more accurately traced, and then repaired. If someone has a leaky pipe on their property underground, a meter would alert that homeowner to the problem. As it stands now, that leak could continue for years without anyone noticing.

And while the estimated $12-million price tag is eyebrow-raising, it won’t be cheaper later.

And let’s be frank, one day, Mission homes will have water meters. Better to pay for the upgrade sooner, rather than wait until the cost to taxpayers increases further.

With meters installed, homeowners will finally be rewarded for their conservation, or penalized for lack of care over this most precious resource, which sounds fair to us; pay for what you use.

If we’re going to stick with a joint water system — there have been cries from Mission politicians for years to look into our own water supply — meters should be installed on homes, and the system itself,  as soon as it becomes financially prudent.