Those who hoped to block the installation of water meters in Sechelt by voting in the recent Alternative Approval Process could not be more wrong. The meters are almost certainly going in anyway. Why? Because meters increase the Coast water supply, which ironically is just what those contrary voters claimed to have been fighting for in the first place.
Meters help identify leaks, which are common in our aging water lines. As Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne said in a Coast Reporter Radio interview, “Metering … usually results in a 25 to 30 per cent increase in supply. Gibsons found a 40 per cent saving. Even if we were to save 20 per cent, which is below the average, that’s [equivalent to] 10 extra weeks of water.”
Conservatively averaged over the whole year, we draw about 12 million litres of water a day from the Chapman Lake system. Based on that, 10 weeks (70 days) supply would total about 840 million litres. A new Chapman Creek reservoir under consideration by the SCRD, which could take years to plan and construct, might hold as much as 760 million litres.
Therefore, installing water meters in Sechelt could, at a minimum, increase the annual water supply by considerably more than the capacity of a new reservoir, and considerably sooner.
The current SCRD Board of Directors is unanimous in its support of metering, for obvious reasons. It’s likely this board will decide before the October election on an alternative plan to pay for the Sechelt meter installation. And that could mean getting a loan that is more expensive than the funding plan that was derailed by the protest vote.
The protest – by about 12 per cent of Coast voters – might have been well intentioned, but it was ill considered. Now it could cost all property-tax payers more, and has only delayed increasing the water supply.
Rik Jespersen, Roberts Creek