Armstrong ready for water meters

Installation of residential water meters will begin in Armstrong in the next few weeks and should be done by Dec. 31.

Water conservation efforts are moving ahead in Armstrong.

Installation of residential water meters will begin in the next few weeks and should be done by Dec. 31.

“We’re happy to see it going forward,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

“Water conservation is the big thing. Control of the resource is also important.”

Each home will receive a letter outlining the timing of installation.

There is no charge for the meter or installation unless a resident refuses to let the contractor enter their home or property.

In those cases, a meter pit will be installed on the city-owned road allowance adjacent to the lot and the property owner will be billed for the additional costs.

“We’ve had a few people who don’t want meters,” said Pieper.

“Some people have said ‘You’re not coming into my house.”

Largely because of the controversy over B.C. Hydro’s smart meters, the city is making it clear that water meters will not be wireless and no wireless transmissions will be created.

“The cost for wireless technology is considerably more,” said Pieper of why hard-wired meters are being used.

The total price tag for the water meter program is $683,000, with 60 per cent of that coming from water utility reserves. There is also support from the federal gas tax fund and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

While meters are being installed now, consumption-based billing will not begin until 2014.

“This will provide time for residents to see their water consumption patterns and understand how they can make changes that would reduce consumption and costs,” said Terry Martens, the city’s chief financial officer.

“The city will be reading the meters in 2013 and will provide consumption statements to residents showing what their proposed bill would be under a consumption-based billing system.”