Where I grew up, water meters were a fact of life.

I remember sitting under the Liquidambar tree in the front yard playing in the dirt listening to the tick-tick-tick of the water meter down by the front fence. My parents had paid for water in this way since before I was born. Despite this fact, and the knowledge that even the lush green lawns of the North Shore region of Sydney were part of the great continent known as the driest on earth, it wasn’t until a truly persistent drought hit in the 90’s that Sydney understood the limitations of their water supply.

News articles and video footage of massive, ancient looking above-ground pipelines with leaks flowing into perpetual puddles below were damming evidence against the management of the water utilities, especially considering how “water conscious” they expected their customers to be.

Living in the Kootenays, a region of BC, Canada that is surrounded by mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers, it seems odd to have to reference many of my experiences in Australia. But for the community where I work, Rossland, the water supply relies heavily on snow melt and two storage reservoirs. Water has value beyond the price we pay, experience has shown that without a critical drought emergency situation, most people rarely consider the importance of their water sources or a continuous supply.

This week I wrote a report on water meters and conservation for Rossland, it was presented, with few questions, at Council on Monday night, and can be found here.

The report was longer than I had anticipated, as I got started there just seemed to be so many parts to consider, with detail on the conservation statistics from literature, and summaries of many of the issues we face in a small alpine community.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.