After more than 20 years of discussion, a pilot project is in the works to determine whether placing a meter on home water consumption is viable in Whitehorse.

Yukoners are among the highest per capita water users in Canada. Metering has been proven to cut consumption.

But cost estimates to install meters in the whole city are in the $4 million range. 

"To go citywide residential is not cheap,” says City Engineer Wayne Tuck. “We have to show the impact from a cost perspective."

To do that, the city plans to install pilot water meters in 25 homes this winter.

Data from the pilot project should give councillors the information they need to decide whether citywide metering is worthwhile.

It’s still not clear how the city might charge for water if meters were in place. “It does cost a lot to have water out front of your door,” Tuck says. “Then there is the variable cost of how much water you actually use."

The city is considering a joint project with Yukon Electrical that would see the energy company's new smart meters tally home water use at the same time.