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LETTER: Solution for Grand Forks water system: District Metering

Dear Mayor and Council,

I understood from the local radio news that you were looking for solutions to the water system issues in Grand Forks. Here is an extremely inexpensive and effective solution: District Metering.

Veritec engineering did a study for the City of Revelstoke on their water system, dated Oct 10, 2013,  http://www.scribd.com/doc/181864262/Veritec-water-metering-report-pdf#fullscreen. “Water Metering Feasibility and Water Loss Management Study”

Here are a few excerpts:

3.1. The report recommends district metering, with meter verification as well as a number of strategies for water loss detection and management.  (p. 1 of 7)

3.2. The cost to implement district metering and for verification of existing meters is estimated to be $44,000.  (p. 1 of 7)

The Water Balance estimates water loss in the system to be 51% +/- 27%. The City of Revelstoke Water Smart Action Plan (Sept 2013) estimates water loss seen in other Basin communities to be between 30-70 % and that the water loss indicated in the Revelstoke 2011 Water Balance is considered ‘normal’ compared with other communities. Vertiec has indicated the potential for a large level of inaccuracy in the data due to uncertainty in the readings from the system bulk meters.   (page 3 of 7)

The report recommends proceeding with district metering and indicates the key factors which influence the recommendation are estimated high water loss levels, low marginal cost to treat and distribute water and no capital cost reduction or deferral available at this time. (p. 4 of 7)

The report indicates that with leak detection and repair a 30% reduction in water loss (a 15% reduction in gross water consumption) may be achievable. (p. 4 of 7)

As you can see, at an estimate of only $44,000 for a town with approx. 3000 homes, district metering is extremely attractive. The benefits are tremendous. Note that Veritec recommended district metering over universal metering. Apparently, former GF mayor and council conducted studies of water management strategies for years, including looking at other municipalities in southern BC. This information should have been known by previous mayor and council, so it just boggles the mind why on earth they chose the most expensive and least efficient solution for our cash-strapped town. What could possibly have been their motivation?

Note that municipal water system loss estimates are enormous, contrary to what the public was told at our local council meetings last year.

I ask you to put a halt to the universal water meter program immediately, and vote to continue with a District Metering plan combined with enforced sprinkling regulations. Very cheap and effective. To complete the rest of the current universal water meter program, the city will likely have to put out another $700,000 or perhaps even $1,000,000. plus the cost of endless administration and potential law suits.

The infrastructure issues will always be there, and will have to be addressed no matter which water saving strategy you choose. The big difference is that with district metering, you will be perhaps $1M ahead of the game. And you won’t be subjecting additional homeowners to the health risks of RF radiation.

Please do not throw away any more taxpayers’ money on the current program.

Thank you.

Jack Koochin,  Grand Forks, BC