Funding for pilot project approved

Project to cost $245,000 and expected to be in place by late spring

The municipality is purchasing 500 water meters for a pilot project to compare water consumption in older homes against newer homes.

The meters will be installed in the West Heights area where about 500 residences that were built in the 1970s have water meters in place.

The old meters will be replaced with new ones so all homes that are part of the study will have the same equipment. All the homes will also have the new radio-read meter, which will be read monthly.

There are about 300 homes built since 2009 equipped with water meters that will also be part of the program. These residents pay for water based on consumption.

West Heights residents who are part of the project will continue to be billed the flat rate ($465/year) for water.

“Residents won’t notice a difference [in service or billing],” said Rick Bomhof, Mission’s director of engineering. “We don’t want them to change their habits.”

The 800 homes being sampled for the project represent about nine per cent of residential customers using district water services.

While other communities may have conducted similar studies, the best data is always from your own community, said Bomhof. “There are always intricacies and variations on why one community consumes more [water] than others.”

It also gives the district the ability to manage the pilot program and introduce initiatives to try to reduce water consumption based on local needs, he added.

The pilot project will cost the district about $245,000 and is expected to be in place by late spring after all the equipment is purchased and installed.

Last year council debated whether or not to offer a water metering program in Mission, but councillors chose to investigate the consumption in older homes first. Newer residences are equipped with energy-saving appliances and low-flow systems, said Coun. Larry Nundal at the time.