Where’s my water?

Has the Town of Aurora replaced your water meter yet?

Our was replaced earlier this month through a contracted outfit.

I was surprised when I got the knock at the door as I hadn’t heard anything about it by way of the town.

Another high five to the Town’s communications team.

Given the issue of water monitoring I had a couple years back: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/flushing-money-down-the-drain/ I had no objections to the meter upgrade.

But it did make me start questioning the impetus for this meter replacement program.

We learn from this April 6th article in the Error banner that Newmarket is losing $500,000 a year due to meter inaccuracy:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/5542258-water-meter-inaccuracy-costs-newmarket-500-000-per-year-says-report/

How they have decided to resolve this is to take out a loan to spend $6.7 Million on replacement meters.

It sounds reasonable until you read the point that:

After about 10 years of operation, the meters begin to lose about .5 per cent of their accuracy annually.

So repaying a loan using money saved through improved meter accuracy seems questionable given a 10 year time frame, here’s why:

If the town opted not to update the meters they would be facing a loss of only $5 Million over 10 years. They would still be $1.7 Million ahead at the point that these new meters hit their 10 year mark and start losing .5 percent of their accuracy.

So I’m not buying the cost savings given the numbers available, however there is a bonus in the fact that it will discontinue staff having to go door-to-door and getting the meter numbers and a cost savings is likely to be had there.

What is particularly of interest to me is the fact that :

Residents will also have access to their usage data online. AMI data identifies and alerts staff and customers of unusual consumption patterns, which could identify potential leaks within a customer’s home, meter tampering and backflow.

This is exactly what I was looking for back in 2013 when I discovered a leak through inflated water bills.

Alerts will be welcomed by all residents, especially snowbirds, landlords and other property owners that are not on site.

It is exactly this kind of program details I expect to be brought forward and communicated effectively by the town before it sends contractors to the door.

This isn’t anything new, I first got a taste of this back in 2011:
https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/dripping-water-hollows-out-stone-not-through-force-but-through-persistence-ovid/

Leaving aside the loss of professionalism for a moment I want to return to whole matter of water loss.

Turning attention away from residential to lets say golf clubs and a huge gusher springs forth as to a possible culprit for the town’s unaccounted water loss.

York Region Golf Courses are in the news a lot recently.

Glenway in Newmarket was unsustainable, it folded and is being redeveloped into residential.

The same looks to be the path for York Downs:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/5570713-york-downs-members-vote-to-sell-golf-course-for-412m/

Here in Aurora Highland Gate has been the focus of attention for it’s redevelopment plans and it has residents talking.

Late last year one of the discussions had to do with noticing water loss on the 9th green of the course, here is a snapshot from Facebook, read the response:

Did you know that Club Dink had the capability to move water via underground pipes from an Aurora golf course to one it owns in King?

I sure as hell didn’t, and it opens up some big questions.

1.) When was this arrangement arrived at? Who agreed to it and how were the public notified?

2.) Given that residents are billed by the meter, and meter infrastructure is tweaked to prevent a 0.5 percent loss of accuracy what are the meter readings of both the Highland Gate anf King’s Riding golf courses?

3.) Exactly how much water has been exchanged since this capacity was built?

4.) With the cessation of activities at Highland Gate what arrangement has been made to sever this capacity so that water is no longer transferred to the golf course in King?

Given that the Region was involved in a two-kilometre cured-in-place pipe relining job, with half of it crossing St. Andrew’s Valley Golf Club some years ago: http://dailycommercialnews.com/Infrastructure/News/2012/6/How-Capital-Sewer-managed-pipe-relining-job-crossing-Aurora-Ontario-golf-course-DCN050836W/ It is not unreasonable for the town and the region to have tracked the water in play here and disclose it in a fully transparent manner to all.

Even if you gleefully washed down Mayor Dawe’s bullshit statement that Water is the best deal Aurorans gets from the region, "Where’s my water?" is a question all Aurorans should be asking.

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One thought on “Where’s my water?

  1. E and I Director reported an increase in annual water loss from 8 to 12% as one of the explanations for the first exorbitant increase in the price of water. I asked for specifics like number of water breaks. Treasurer and Director refused to provide the information. The CAO said they were afraid of how I would “use” it. It was the year the Mayor made his famous statement that “water is the best bargain we get”. He wasn’t five minutes on Council. He could only have been parroting what someone else told him.
    In four years they expected water rates to double. They hadn’t even thought about a problem with water meters then. Regional treasurers meet regularly to discuss water rates.They never have given a satisfactory explanation for why water, a natural resource, should increase by 100% in four years.
    BTW golf courses generally use their own water source to maintain the course. Like people who live on estate lots with private wells, they do not buy water from the municipality because
    they do not use municipal water. Except maybe for a club house.
    Aurora Highlands was bought by a developer fifty years ago.

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