The District of Squamish has earmarked over half a million dollars for the installation of water meters in existing buildings throughout town.
Council voted unanimously on Dec. 17 to award close to $250,000, plus GST, to Complete Utility Contracting Ltd. for external water meter installations. These are meters that will be installed outside.
Another $282,000 was awarded to Neptune Technology Group for internal water meter installations. These will be for meters installed within the building's mechanical rooms.
"Upon installation of these water meters, the District will be able to closely monitor actual water
usage within the industrial, commercial and institutional and multi-family sector," reads a District staff report.
"This information can then be used to help change water users' behaviour to address water supply and consumption concerns within the community."
Water metering has been a goal for the District ever since it created a water master plan in 2015, which recommended it in response to the community's growth.
The plan called for the metering of all industrial, commercial and institutional properties. After some discussion at that time, the council of the day also declared it would also meter multi-family complexes.
The District held off on universal metering, which would add meters to all detached single-family houses because it would be too costly. The price tag for universal installation — adding meters to single-family homes as well as industrial, commercial, institutional and multifamily complexes — was anticipated to be about $9.5 million, with returns of about $2 million to $3 million.
The District decided to defer the possibility of universal installation. For now, builders of new single-family homes are required to put in boxes that would allow for the easy installation of water meters, should the District choose to start metering single-family homes.
As per the District's water meter implementation program, the municipality's goal is to install water meters at all existing non-metered industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-family properties.
Under this program — which includes the newly awarded contracts — a total of 253 water meters will be installed or upgraded by the middle of 2020, said Dave Marrow, the District's director of major projects. The collective value of this equipment is about $1.5 million.
A single meter can serve many different units in multi-family buildings, Marrow said.
Such units are not metered individually, he said, because water systems in those buildings are strata-owned, and it would be costly to put them in each, among other things.
After these contracts are complete, there will be a total of 1,200 unmetered units left, Marrow said.