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Old 03-05-2014, 05:26 PM   #1
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Water meters vs Flat rate water fee?

There in a debate between water meters vs flat rate fee for our household.

Apparently, the City of Surrey wants us to "save money=$400" by choosing a water meter.

For me, I'm very skeptical of the City wanting its cash cow citizens to save money.

I like the flat fee system we have now but I would like to discuss if water meters will save us more money or are they fudging the numbers and dangling savings of $400 dollars on average to switch.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Water meters are a better way to go. They'll help reduce consumption as people won't be as willing to waste water. Leaks will result in large bills for a limited number of home owners, but can also prevent minor flooding and sinkholes as a result that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FS1992EG View Post
There in a debate between water meters vs flat rate fee for our household.

Apparently, the City of Surrey wants us to "save money=$400" by choosing a water meter.

For me, I'm very skeptical of the City wanting its cash cow citizens to save money.

I like the flat fee system we have now but I would like to discuss if water meters will save us more money or are they fudging the numbers and dangling savings of $400 dollars on average to switch.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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I would assume metered water would be a better choice as you only pay for what you use.

My guess would be that it would not be economical for the government to set the baseline usage cost level of a flat rate well below the average usage amount. Meaning they aren't going to set the flat rate at a level that is substantially lower than what an average house uses, likely higher.


eg:
meter: You use 100L in a year @ $1/L = $100
flat rate: Average consumption is up to 150L so they charge you $150
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:49 PM   #5
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Friends thats got a family of 4 said they save very little after installing the meter. It also makes them conserve water by not washing their cars as often, not watering their lawn or take shorter showers. If they get to do it again, they would of just said NO to the water meter.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:50 PM   #6
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Depends on your household. If you only have a few people (2-5) living in there, then water meter is fine. But if your household is one of those extended family households in Surrey, then flat rate is better. But I much prefer flat rate. It's like an unlimited minute cell phone plan where I don't have to worry.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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I like the idea of water meters. It allows those who are more conservative to save more money.

Having a flat rate fee will lead to people abusing the system and not caring about it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:06 PM   #8
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Meters do squat to prevent leaks on houses. If your house has a leak on the line, you'll know within the same day. A pinhole sized leak will cause a kiddy pool sized flood in your lawn over the period of a few hours. The pressure inside your house may only be 50psi, but before it hits your prv(pressure reducing valve, generally located where the water line enters your house) it can easily be 100psi. And be able to spew out more water than you can think it could do lol.

Houses generally have a 3/4" or a 1 " service line. Water will be wasted if there is a leak, but not as much as a lets say a warehouse that has a 4-8" ductile iron service line. If that thing springs a leak, it'll waste more water in 10 minutes than you probably use in a week lol. Bigger buildings need a bigger water supply which means bigger pipe. If there's a leak anywhere from after the water meter to where it enters the building, it's gonna be a big one and be a costly one. That's the only times I think meters are needed.

I'm against water meters.

I'm a municipal waterworker who's installed and removed my fare share of meters. I find them completely useless for a house. Only for businesses/warehouses/shops should have them in my mind.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:23 AM   #9
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Anybody know how is water charged currently for businesses? Metered or flat. Often see taps running full blast at restaurants etc.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:28 AM   #10
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Meters do squat to prevent leaks on houses. If your house has a leak on the line, you'll know within the same day. A pinhole sized leak will cause a kiddy pool sized flood in your lawn over the period of a few hours. The pressure inside your house may only be 50psi, but before it hits your prv(pressure reducing valve, generally located where the water line enters your house) it can easily be 100psi. And be able to spew out more water than you can think it could do lol.

Houses generally have a 3/4" or a 1 " service line. Water will be wasted if there is a leak, but not as much as a lets say a warehouse that has a 4-8" ductile iron service line. If that thing springs a leak, it'll waste more water in 10 minutes than you probably use in a week lol. Bigger buildings need a bigger water supply which means bigger pipe. If there's a leak anywhere from after the water meter to where it enters the building, it's gonna be a big one and be a costly one. That's the only times I think meters are needed.

I'm against water meters.

I'm a municipal waterworker who's installed and removed my fare share of meters. I find them completely useless for a house. Only for businesses/warehouses/shops should have them in my mind.
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Coming from a waterworker, yet you fail to mention how expensive it can be if a toilet bowl keeps refilling from an old rubber ring.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FS1992EG View Post
There in a debate between water meters vs flat rate fee for our household.

Apparently, the City of Surrey wants us to "save money=$400" by choosing a water meter.

For me, I'm very skeptical of the City wanting its cash cow citizens to save money.

I like the flat fee system we have now but I would like to discuss if water meters will save us more money or are they fudging the numbers and dangling savings of $400 dollars on average to switch.

Any thoughts?
Flat rate is calculated by the total amount unaccounted for divided by unmetered households.

back in 06 or 07 in Richmond that's the break even point is a household of 3, now it's 5.

Unless you are a certain ethnic group doing a boarding house rental, having a meter is the way to go.

BTW it's not what the city wants, it's what Federal regulation demands. Each municipality needs know where a certain % of water is going or the funding stops/reduces.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:48 AM   #12
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Coming from a waterworker, yet you fail to mention how expensive it can be if a toilet bowl keeps refilling from an old rubber ring.
Sorry lol, but if your toilet is refilling 24/7 and you don't take your due diligence to fix it, even though you can hear it refill nonstop...then I've got nothing to say to you when you go crying about why your water bill is so high and how you refuse to pay for it.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:20 AM   #13
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Sorry lol, but if your toilet is refilling 24/7 and you don't take your due diligence to fix it, even though you can hear it refill nonstop...then I've got nothing to say to you when you go crying about why your water bill is so high and how you refuse to pay for it.
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not all leaks are noticeable/audible, and for seniors with reduced hearing abilities even so, ironically leaky toilets happen mostly to senior home owners because the houses are generally older.

Same for dripping from a cracked coupling behind a drywall until it's visible from the outside, also a common occurrence for houses not properly maintained, mostly from the City flushing the lines or owner shutting the water off and turning it back on too fast/minus an outlet.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:49 AM   #14
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Kelowna switched to metered water for residential usage in 96 and by 2008, usage had dropped by over 20% and estimates are as of 2012, usage has dropped 35%.


Just sayin.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #15
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When i was a child, my bro and i did things like run through the sprinkler, had water balloon/super soaked fights. Made boats and floated them down a man made stream via hose etc. as an adult i like washing cars and keeping a well-fed lawn. I'd say no to the meter if it means kids can actually have fun outside
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #16
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When i was a child, my bro and i did things like run through the sprinkler, had water balloon/super soaked fights. Made boats and floated them down a man made stream via hose etc. as an adult i like washing cars and keeping a well-fed lawn. I'd say no to the meter if it means kids can actually have fun outside
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Your kids can still have fun, you can still wash your car. You just have to pay for it.

This makes sense to me.

I like washing my car too, but I don't expect my neighbor who never washes his car to subsidize me.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #17
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When i was a child, my bro and i did things like run through the sprinkler, had water balloon/super soaked fights. Made boats and floated them down a man made stream via hose etc. as an adult i like washing cars and keeping a well-fed lawn. I'd say no to the meter if it means kids can actually have fun outside
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Wait so installing a meter will stop the fun because.......it will jump and beat you with a stick if you do so?
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #18
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I switched to a meter. It saves me money. I didn't take a super scientific approach to it, but I figured that me and my wife are the only ones in a 3 bedroom detached home.. so whatever the average or flat rate is, it must be less than what we would use given the size and type of house..
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:34 AM   #19
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When i was a child, my bro and i did things like run through the sprinkler, had water balloon/super soaked fights. Made boats and floated them down a man made stream via hose etc. as an adult i like washing cars and keeping a well-fed lawn. I'd say no to the meter if it means kids can actually have fun outside
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During water restriction times in summer, were told to issue warning letters to houses with sprinklers on when it's not their days to water. Were told to record the address and street. If they've multiple warnings then something happens...what happens is beyond me since I've never found out. But driving down the street and having to try and tell a parent that their kids can't play in the sprinkler and they have to shut the water off is a little upsetting. Some areas have a time zone of 5-7/8am to water...what kids going to be playing by that time?

I'd rather have a flat rate with unlimited use...I won't have a tap on 24/7, but I also won't have to worry about how much my water bill will be since I had relatives staying over this month, and 2 extra people...2 showers a day, double the flushes etc...

Btw, the frost line in vancouver is 18" which is the bare minimum for as deep as your water service line needs to be put. Lots of contractors are lazy and I've seen countless lines that are under 18" deep. When winter comes and your meter is nicely installed and your pipes start freezing underground. Once the pipes freeze and you pay to have them fixed...have fun keeping a tap running 24/7 to prevent it from freezing again (not a steady hard stream of water, but a small stream), cause that's gonna add up fast on your monthly bill.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:40 AM   #20
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Wait so installing a meter will stop the fun because.......it will jump and beat you with a stick if you do so?
Not everyone in this city is rich. Some families have kids who would like to play in a sprinkler all day everyday during the summer. Cause I know I sure did...slip n slides, water hose fights, sprinklers... With a meter, their summertime bill would be the same as a flat rate year long bill lol. So the stick it beats you with is a piece of paper saying you owe us this much money for having fun in your back yard this month.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:43 AM   #21
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I'd rather have a flat rate with unlimited use...I won't have a tap on 24/7, but I also won't have to worry about how much my water bill will be since I had relatives staying over this month, and 2 extra people...2 showers a day, double the flushes etc...Posted via RS Mobile
Just to play devil's advocate..

With your setup:
- Don't worry about water usage
- Pay a bit more each month
- Pay the same amount if relatives come over

My (metered) setup:
- Don't worry about water usage
- Save money most months
- Pay a little more if relatives come over

Just because my water is metered doesn't mean I 'worry' about the usage. I just know that, in general, i'm saving money, and there may be some months where it's more.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:51 AM   #22
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^ what happens when your service line in your yard springs a leak and pisses out a months worth of water over night? Or when nobody's home while on a weekend trip?
Pay the extra water usage that you never used, + the bill of someone to come in and fix it up for 3-500$...or fix the entire line for an extra 1000 on top? If it broke once it'll break again...I'd see it happen on a daily basis at work.

I know meters have their ups and downs, but I've seen and dealt with way more downs than I've seen ups.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:33 PM   #23
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In the ideal world, we wouldn't need water meters because people would only use the water they needed.

But the reality is, once water (or any resource) is measured, people will use less, install low-flow fixtures, etc, to save money.


There are LOTS of resources not metered, and the abuse is rampant. For example, the electricity per floor for downtown office space isn't metered and you see a lot of the lights left on at night. Natural gas isn't metered for almost every condo, so you see people heating their homes with their fireplaces instead of using the baseboard. People have no incentive to conserve because they just pay a flat rate based on the square footage.

This is the same concept.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:43 PM   #24
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Lol at low flow fixtures. If the water was metered, I'd still gladly pay more and have a conventional shower head. I've never used a good low flow shower before.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:00 PM   #25
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In the ideal world, we wouldn't need water meters because people would only use the water they needed.

But the reality is, once water (or any resource) is measured, people will use less, install low-flow fixtures, etc, to save money.


There are LOTS of resources not metered, and the abuse is rampant. For example, the electricity per floor for downtown office space isn't metered and you see a lot of the lights left on at night. Natural gas isn't metered for almost every condo, so you see people heating their homes with their fireplaces instead of using the baseboard. People have no incentive to conserve because they just pay a flat rate based on the square footage.

This is the same concept.
Exactly. Plus at a flat rate, people with light usage subsidize the heavy users.

Under normal circumstances, there's no way a household of 2 could use the same amount as a household of 10, yet they'd have to pay the same flat rate amount.

How is that fair?

Analogy:
My Mustang burns 10x the amount of gas as a Prius, would it be fair to those Prius owners if the cost of gasoline was all a flat monthly rate and they paid the same as me? No. (There has to be some up-side to driving those shitty boring cars)

Plus, when you introduce metering initiatives which reduce consumption, it also means that communities don't need to spend as many tax dollars on upgrading the size/capacity of water treatment facilities. Win Win.
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