Sunday, May 24, 2009

Welfare for Watermeters

Just got a letter from my water board about meters. Up 'til last year, nobody had a water meter in this town. There are so many weekend houses that use very little water to matter. Billing was done by dividing the revenues needed to keep the water on by the number of customers. Which makes sense, the water flows out of the wells for free. The cost comes from laying and maintaining all those pesky pipes. The pipe costs the same whether water runs thru it or not. Billing based on metered usage would let all the weekend homes off free, and make the full time residents pay all the bills. The water board is all full time residents so that wasn't going to happen.
Turns out the staties and the feds are in love with water meters. Unless we installed meters thru out the town, they wouldn't lend the town money to replace that pipe. The pipe in question was laid back in the 1930's, and replacement is not unreasonable after all this time. Between increased demand and increased leakage, water pressure in town was getting too low to meet state standards. If water pressure drops below zero, the system starts sucking water back in thru all the leaks, and back out of any improperly plumbed drains, which is a health hazard. The state has been on the town's back to fix this for several years now.
So, in order to get a $3.5 million loan at 2.75%, the town had to blow $750,000 installing water meters in every house. I should buy stock in a water meter company.
The letter from the water board then explained that billing would be done the traditional way, $200 a house, pretty much irregardless of meter readings. I'm so glad we paid for all those meters.

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