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Water meters decrease consumption: WRAC

By Emily Wessel - Merritt Herald
Published: July 17, 2013 4:00 PM
Updated: July 17, 2013 4:18 PM

The Water Resource Advisory Committee wants the city to read water meters and monitor water use, which it says is unsustainable —  especially in the summer.

In a presentation to council during the regular City of Merritt council meeting on July 9, WRAC chair Ginny Prowal presented the group’s proposal that the city monitor the meters between April 1 and October 1 in 2014 and incorporate their findings in the Official Community Plan.

Prowal told council that water consumption in the city is high, particularly in the summer when people water their lawns.

Prowal said several factors have also influenced the shortage of water available to Merrittonians, including the trend of lower snowpack levels and less precipitation than in previous years.

“The year 2009 should have been a wake-up call to the fact that adequate water for our needs was not guaranteed. Our groundwater had been dropping for a decade but consumption stayed the same,” she said. “We can no longer rely on the weather and should monitor conditions and reduce consumption.”However, construction on the Nicola River flood plain where Central Park and Voght Street are is another reason why groundwater levels have dropped, she told council.

“Basically, the priority now is protection of infrastructure, instead of letting the river flood out like it used to,” Prowal said. “That does change the makeup of the groundwater.”

Prowal said monitoring water meters is the most effective way to help reduce unsustainable consumption levels, citing a one-year WRAC water use study completed in 2011 that showed once people started monitoring their meters, they reduced their use.

“We know the amount of water that’s being pumped, but we don’t know who’s using it,” Prowal said. “As soon as people realized how much they were using, down went their consumption.”