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Comox Valley Regional District behind schedule installing water meters

The regional district expects to install about 900 water meters in local service areas by early-September.
THE SENSUS IPERL water meter is the model used by the CVRD. Water meters are being installed in local service areas.

The regional district expects to install about 900 water meters in local service areas by early-September.

In December, after the CVRD board approved a $1.1-million contract to Surrey outfit Corix Utilities, the district had expected to install about 1,500 residential meters in the Arden, England Road, Greaves Crescent, Marsden/Camco and Comox Valley water service areas in the first half of the year.

"It took a little while to get the tender out, that's why it's a little later than expected," said Kerry Mayo, CVRD manager of water services.

"It's a fairly complex tender because there's a lot of unknowns. We try and keep as much of the control as we can to keep the costs in line."

The contractor hand digs each meter and replaces any sod that has been cut.

"We've had lots of compliments about the installs," Mayo said, noting the process can be complicated by varying depths of meters and different locations such as driveways.

Customers have been given a week's notice of an area to be metered. On the day of an install, workers will knock on doors. If a customer is not home, they will leave a door hanger to notify that a meter has been installed on the property.

"We do try and be proactive about the whole thing," Mayo said, noting "smart meters" are able to store consumption history.

According to the CVRD, water metering is an effective measure for reducing water demand.

The district is working on a billing strategy to determine rate structures and frequency of bills.

"We have to project what the reduction and consumption will be, and how that's going to have an impact on the budget for the areas," said Mayo, noting customers typically have an allotment with the base rate. "Consumption over that is based on the cubic meter after that volume."

Once most of the 1,500 meters are installed, the CVRD will test the equipment to ensure it is functioning properly and "integrating with our financial software," Mayo said.

"We look at each install after it's completed to see if there are leaks in the system. We have found quite a few residential leaks."

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