The Neptune Technology Group has been hired to implement volumetric water use billing in Function Junction as a pilot program for industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) properties.
To facilitate this transition, upgrades to existing water meters and installation of new water meters will begin by the end of November and continue into early 2020. Billing customers for their usage (volumetrically) would be introduced in 2021 after a period of “mock” billing.
The RMOW is moving ahead with a pilot project to implement volumetric billing via water metering in Function Junction. The new system will encourage water conservation, improve leak detection and ensure rate equitability. Function Junction was chosen for the pilot project since the RMOW recently acquired the VanWest Water Utility that serviced the neighbourhood.
Water meter installation has been a requirement for all new construction in Whistler since 1993, and radio frequency (RF) remote reading capabilities have been a requirement since 2007. Metering will help ensure water supplies are kept safe and sustainable for the future. Metering is a sensible way to manage Whistler’s water supply, which is why many Canadian municipalities are already doing it. Metering has been shown to give customers the information they need to ensure they are using water efficiently and as a result reducing water consumption.
Given the many benefits of water metering, the RMOW is also exploring the implementation of volumetric billing for ICI customers across Whistler, similar to the District of Squamish's recent initiative. A decision on whether to implement this approach is expected to be made once the pilot project has been evaluated. If a decision is made to implement, there will be a period of time before the transition is complete, including a period of “mock” billing. Early communication to ICI customers about the changes would be a priority.
The Function Junction project is just one more way the RMOW is working to help our community use less water. Whistler's total water consumption in 2018 was 5.76 billion litres or 461 litres per person each day, which is beyond the performance target of 425 litres per person each day. Because developing more infrastructure to increase our water supply would be very expensive to build, operate and maintain, the RMOW is working with the community and businesses to find ways to better manage our existing supply and infrastructure. Other recent initiatives include the new water conservation stages and the Cross Connection Control Program to prevent backflow contamination.
Installation and usage fees
Meters will be installed by Neptune Technology Group, a professional company who are committed to making the process as convenient as possible. You will be able to schedule an appointment for a time that suits your schedule. Water meters go inside buildings, near the main shut-off valve. Installation is typically clean, quick and easy. There will be no costs to customers for installation, upgrade or replacement of water meters as this is funded by the RMOW.
Once the water meters are installed and volumetric utility billing commences, customers would pay for the amount of the water they use collected through the usage fee. This is one of the two water fund fees that the RMOW collects, the other is a parcel tax, which is a fixed fee which is not currently being proposed to be changed. Through volumetric billing customers can control how much they pay for water, by changing the amount of water that they use.
November 2019: Installation process begins
Early 2020: Installation process complete
2020: Mock billing begins to allow for customers to adjust their water use behaviour
2021: Volumetric billing introduced