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May 10, 2007


Gerry McRae

Water MetERs --
Please don't confuse me with facts and other's opinions.
As a senior citizen I reserve the right to a closed mind!

However, I can bore you with all of my opinions should you ever ask.

The above statements are not meant to be a threat.

In your calculations, I hope ACCESS to City water will be much lower than current rates and, then, USAGE rates be added to that low access rate.

Fred Bosman

Water Meters
I am in favour of water meters. If is a much fairer way of paying for usage. If I have a small family and a small yard and therefore use little water, why should I pay the same as someone filling a swimming pool, watering an acre lot and daily hosing the dust from his driveway? Also, if your meter shows a high usage, perhaps you will fix that leaking toilet faster - it helps when it comes out your own pocket.

Ken McClelland

I am not in favour of water meters. We live in a dry climate that admittedly takes a lot of water to keep green. Kamloops has done very well in various beautification competitions over the years because we are seen as an oasis in the desert. I agree that ultimately, user pay systems are the most fair, and naturally those with large lots will be opposed and vice versa, but I will guarantee that there will be large expanses of brown and burned out grass if water metering is implemented. Kamloops has been known in the past as a dry, dusty place in the desert, and I don't want to see us return to that. A better solution, I think, would be to strongly promote more xeriscape-type landscaping, particularly in the newer developments as a way of cutting water consumption. If done correctly, xeriscape is an attractive alternative to the traditional lush green lawn, and is more in keeping with Kamloops' natural environs.


I have heard arguments for meters: conservation, money savings, etc.

And arguments against: making water a commodity; a step toward privitization; rates subject to being raised.

The last point is always an option, including under our current system, so that does not concern me.

Privatization is a separate and distinct issue that would have to be fought when threatened. I don't think we can avoid this step to conservation based on what other ideas might arise in future.

I support meters. I want one. I am careful with water use, having transitioned my entire front yard from lawn to mulch, growing mostly low-water plants, watering the remaining lawn sparingly, etc. I do this for love of the earth, but am aware that others won't until their pocketbook is affected.

One concern I have is that for some, money isn't an issue. So I would like to see water use past a certain point disproportionately taxed. A fine, essentially, that even a wealthy person would balk at. Currently, I am "fined" for others' extreme use, through rates based on "average" and "assumed" usage. I think it should be the reverse.

pat Leibel

I couldn't say it better than Fred Bosman did (2 letters up) regarding promoting Xeriscaping rather than see brown grass and weeds being the signature image of our city. Kamloops naturally WOULD use more water than other cities, due to the semi-desert climate of the city. I thought the referendum already answered the wishes of the people anyways!

No to meters.

pat leibel

Apologies to Fred Bosman.. the letter I was referring to was Ken McClelland. The lines seperating the comments would seem to confuse the identity of the letter writer to the person above the letter, when in fact, as I see now, it is the person below.

Mayor Quimby

Xeriscaping is a wonderful idea for saving water but what savings or benefit will I receive for going to the expense of altering my yards landscaping ? Shouldn't my water charges go down, since I am using less ? or should I continue to subsidize my neighbour with a large lush lawn ?

If not meters then maybe a annual xeriscaping grant from the city, to reflect the reduced usage ?

Something should be done, a city in an arid environment should be very stringent with water usage and encourage the conservation. There two ways of accomplishing this task, or a mix of both, Metering or incentives.

Joe D.

Hi Arjun,

I'm in favour of meters. They make a lot of sense on many levels and folks will quickly learn to live with them and hopefully monitor their water use better.

While I'm at it, a cosmetic pesticide ban also needs to be implemented in Kamloops.


Love the idea of a xeriscaping grant, MQ. Grants seem to be a hit with all income levels, too. Right now we pay nothing more to water, water, water but we do pay to transition to xeriscape, mulch heavily, buy specific plants, etc, all the while saving the city $. A grant for this is a good idea.

Mike Maddison

I'm for the water meters. How will water meters affect businesses that use a lot of water? Grants for xeriscapes is a great idea. We also need to clean up our pesticide use. Especially on city controlled areas.

Hannah Smith

I am absolutely for water meters for several reasons. One, is it makes people responsible and aware of their household water consumption. Another is, I own a tri-plex and I pay three times under the current city fee structure even though less people reside in my property than a normal family household and we have no laundry facility in the property. I would therefore pay substantially less under a metered system than I do now. The current system penalizes responsible water consumers and gives those who use the most a free ride.

Lyn Richards

I strongly favor water meters for residential as well as commercial properties. When I converted an old house for my business, and was obliged to install a water meter, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my city utilities bill went down! Even though we developed an extensive garden (where there had been none) & had to irrigate the trees we had planted to establish them, our water use was less -- probably because we chose drought tolerant plants and used drip irrigation.
I note that others are commenting on pesticide use. On our property, we have never used chemical pesticides, and it looks great. We manage the leaf rollers with Bacillis thuringiensis, the mildew with a baking soda/water spray, and the ants in the plum tree with Tangletoe on the trunk. And we minimize lawn weeds by keeping the lawn to a tiny triangle (10x15x8 ?) we can weed by hand, while enjoying sitting on it. All of which is lots cheaper than bags of Weed'n'Feed!


I am all for water meters, even though I have a .5 acre lot. I use comparatively little water to keep my lawn green and plants watered due to wise mulching, careful watering and some landscaping choices.

Mayor Quimby

Just wanted to comment on the Mal Arkey diatribes, it seems the author has missed some massive economic and technological points when it comes to the cost of water conservation. He misses the fact that less H2O moving through the pipes will marginally increase its life span, over 1000s of km of pipe that is millions, he misses the externalities of irrational water usage (less the future, sewage treatment,environmental depletion issues, etc.)

His point about increased staff is minimal as meters that can be read via a computer and a small transmitter are available, allowing one or two employees to drive around and "read" meters.

That is just the big ones, his outlook seems dated. Would gas be the cost it is if we hadn't over consumed it for the last 70 years?

David Wise

Hi Arjun,

Great post, and getting lots of feedback! As a planner who works in water management, water meters are the only way we are going to get a handle on our high rate of water consumption. There is a serious economic development side to the provision and supply of water, not to mention all the costs associated with ensuring our infrastructure can handle the continuously increasing demand.

As a homeowner, I am also strongly in favour of water meters. Nothing makes me angrier than looking across the street at my neighbour, putting out 5 sprinklers and watering the street all night, in the dead of summer - perfectly legally, since she is watering in her designated time slot. It drives me wild that she pays the same rate that I do, with my soaker hose, xeriscaped landscaping and flourishing garden (which looks beautiful), and it infuriates me when she, and people like her, claim that overwatering is their right, and how dare we ask them to pay for their share.

I don't want to be on the hook for another major tax increase because the city had to expand the water plant to provide the water to support my neighbours gluttony. I'm all for water meters!

Gisela Ruckert

Hi, Arjun. First let me just say that I really appreciate your attempts to be representative by canvassing us for our opinions. Grassroots democracy -- I love it! Now regarding water meters: council should do the right thing and go ahead and implement them. Residents need to be properly educated about the future costs of not putting them in. I voted against water meters during the referendum but, like many others, I now have a better grasp of the issue. Water meters are the most effective way to lower consumption, which keeps costs lower for all of us. Ecologically and financially, meters are the way to go. Council is in a bit of an awkward position now on this issue, but that's a poor reason not to face the problem (which will otherwise continue to grow).

Montana Burgess

I agree with the majority of the comments posted. We live in a semi-arid grassland which is composed of vegetation adapted to this environment. Green lawns maintained simply for their visual benefits are unnecessary and use a lot of water. Water meters should be installed to make individuals and user groups more accountable for their actions, especially during this time of increase public awareness of climate change and related issues. Water is a valuable resource that is not unlimited and, in my opinion, if one wants to water his/her lawn (made of exotic grass species) one should have to personally finance it. Also, while we're addressing water issues, we should invest in enforcement of watering restrictions and have strict penalties for those who do not follow the bylaws and ticket more often if the rules are to be taken seriously.

I heard somewhere that a BC community has decided to beginning metering water this year and basing it on this year's usage. I have then heard that some residents of this community are purposely using more water than necessary to increase that baseline amount. I really hope the City of Kamloops would have the foresight to take an average over the past, say 10 years, of water use so citizens don't act irresponsibly as I have heard they might be doing in this other community.

Mike Kennedy


On water meters. First of all, our new water plant cost too much and was unnecessary in the opinion of most thinking Kamloopians. We were conned into it by councillors who are no longer current, and city engineers. In reality, an overhaul of the existing plant would have saved 60 million dollars and not necessitated the use of meters. Of course, now, we need meters because of the NEW cost of water that taxpayers bear. Huge mistake, because the taxpayers should have agreed to meters before the new plant. To me, it smells of a con job, since there was likely a conversation that went something like " well, they voted down meters this time, but we can easily convince them later when they see the cost of water after the new plant is built "

Nothing has changed since our largest ever capital expenditure. We still buy bottled water, there is still chlorine in the city water. The only change is the cost of being a taxpayer in Kamloops. Welcome to Kamloops, highest residential property taxes in North America!

Chad Moats

I come from Regina, Saskatchewan and property taxes here are much lower, about half, and water bills are 3 times the amount, nearly $100/month. Kamloops has lots of room before garnering a title like highest residential property taxes in NA. The residential mill rate here is under 10 mills, total, and Regina is almost 40.


I currently do not support water meters. A reason posted by Ken McClelland is my reason why. Water meters will not prevent the wealthy water users to change water use. The Low-Income and Fixed-Income residents of Kamloops will suffer from water meters. It is normally the middle class and the wealthy who use large amounts of water for landscaping purposes. The majority of Low-Income and Fixed-Income earners cannot afford more the the most basic of landscaping if any at all. I agree with a way to charge for water that is fair and affordable for all. But I see water meters as not a burden for the upper half of our city population and a massive burden for our lower half. I believe that a better fix would be education and enforcement. Kamloops by-law officers can write more tickets for violators. The city can expand the WaterSmart education program. Grants can be issued for people for purchase and/or upgrade water appliances to save on water. Water Meters would be good for monitoring and research purposes. So I will not completely close my mind upon them. I do not want to see the divide between the wealthy and the poor grow wider apart to the point were if your poor your not allowed to get a shower or even drink a glass of clean water.

Cody Rivest

I feel that water meters are a must for environmental sustainability when used for monitoring purposes in conjunction with a policy that ensures environmental equity for all.
I do not feel that simply charging individual households for water use will truly reduce water usage. Research has shown that lower income households are affected the most by taxation. Higher income households do not always feel the need to reduce because it does not hurt the pocket book quite as much.
Traditionally, higher income households use more water for their proportionally larger and greener lawns. I feel that a water meter should be in place to effectively manage our water resources, but not charge on a per litre usage. Perhaps allow a specific quota and then charge all excess usage accordingly. However, usage charges MUST take into account household income and charge according to their tax bracket. This method has the potential for lower income and higher income households to receive equal rights to water use and both will have relatively equal incentive to conserve water.


I grew up in Kamloops and don't remember anyone having a brown lawn. I currently live in Vancouver and have seen many brown lawns during the months of July and August. While we have the benefit of many months of green lawns due the never-ending rain, Vancouver has sprinkling restrictions during the summer. Kamloops residents may be surprised to see many brown lawns (and public parks) if they visit Vancouver in the summer. By the Fall the grass jumps back to life when the downpours return. I can understand that Kamloopsians might want their opportunity to have green lawns (i.e. Kamloopsians might be OK with 2 months of brown grass if they had a few other months with green grass), but that requires watering. I think the various comments regarding low-water gardens is one of the best solutions. Believe me, if I could send some of our rain your way, I would be more than happy to do so!
I just wanted to let you know that even in soggy Vancouver we live with brown lawns and parks in the summer.

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