In 2008, Fort St. John’s residential water consumption was at a whopping 550 litres per day per person. A key sustainability measure implemented by the City of Fort St. John was to install water meters, which was expected to reduce general water consumption by 20 - 25%. The reduction was astounding! Residents of the City of Fort St. John saved 500,000,000 litres in the first 8 months of 2009. That’s a savings of 2,083,333 litres saved every day. Residents have become much more aware of their consumption levels and are responsibly managing one of our most precious resources – the Peace River water supply.
Water may seem abundant in Fort St. John and we often take our high quality, plentiful water supply for granted. However, it takes a lot of energy and money to clean and pump this water from the Peace River wells to where we can use it. Every resident has a vested financial interest to help manage the water in these reservoirs and remember that it is precious and expensive – even though we enjoy it in our homes for so little cost.
Components of a Water Meter
There are three components to a water meter:
- The meter body – allows a controlled volume of water to flow through
- The meter register – keeps track of the volume of water consumed
- The meter transmission unit (MTU) – transmits water consumption data to City Hall
If one of these components malfunction, the City does not receive the data and will need to send out a technician to service the water meter.
How Do You Know if Your Water Meter Needs to be Serviced?
The City notifies its customers with a note on the utility bill which states “When the 'Meter Read’ box says System Estimate or Service Estimate: Please call 250-787-8150 and arrange a meter servicing appointment.” It is important for you to call the City’s Utility Billing Department as soon as possible if your water meter needs to be serviced. This will minimize the impact of the account reconciliation if the appointment is booked right away.
How to Book a Water Meter Service Appointment
Phone the City’s Utility Billing Department to book an appointment at 250-787-8150 or email utilities. Appointments are available during regular business hours. A water meter service appointment takes approximately an hour to complete and is scheduled for a specific time. The City requires someone over the age of 18 to be present for the duration of the appointment. If your water meter is under a mobile home, the homeowner is required to remove the skirting adjacent to the meter.
Where is your Water Meter Located?
It is important to know where your water meter is located because the valves at the meter are your emergency water shut off to your home. Water meters are located inside the home, in a crawlspace, or underneath a mobile home. Residents must provide clear access to the meter, and the meter must not be permanently covered by anything.
How to Protect Your Water Meter from the Cold
If your water meter is not protected against winter conditions, it may freeze and crack. If this happens, call Public Works immediately. A new water meter will be required at a cost. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to protect the meter from freezing by surrounding it with insulation and heat tape if it is located in a cold location, such as underneath a mobile home or in a cold crawlspace. If you notice there is a leak at the water meter, it is the homeowner’s responsiblity to repair the shut off valves and the service line to the property. The City’s responsibility is to repair the meter itself and the connections at the meter.
- Read each monthly utility bill to make sure the water meter is working properly and be aware if the City is trying to notify you.
- Call or email the City’s Utility Billing Department to book a water meter service appointment, when required.
- Keep your contact information updated with the City ie: mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.
- Provide clear access to the meter when required.
- Protect the water meter from the cold.
- Notify the City if your water meter is damaged or leaking.