British Columbia

Water meters may be on tap for Vancouver

The City of Vancouver will decide this week if it will require water meters to be installed on all newly built family homes in the city.
Vancouver city council is considering backing a policy to put water meters on newly built residential homes, the CBC's Belle Puri reports 2:12

The City of Vancouver will decide this week if it will require water meters to be installed on all newly built family homes in the city.

The city is trying to slow down increases in residents' water consumption, currently the fourth highest in Canada and more than double that of major European cities.

Vancouver residential per capita water consumption is among the highest in Canada. (CBC)
Figures compiled in 2007 showed residential water consumption in Vancouver averaged 295 litres per person per day.

"We are relative water hogs," said Peter Judd, general manager of the city's engineering services. "At some point we will have to increase the height of dams at Capilano and Seymour or develop new water sources, and that will be very, very expensive."

The regulations under considerations would require meters to be installed in homes undergoing major renovations.

"There is no motivation right now for people in single family residences to reduce consumption," said Judd.

More than 13,000 commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-family buildings are on water meters already, while most Vancouver homeowners pay an annual flat rate.

Surrey leads

Surrey leads Metro Vancouver in residential water meters installation, a practice the city started 13 years ago.

Now, 58 per cent of Surrey homes are metered.

The community is growing at a rate of three per cent per year, but its water consumption is going down by one per cent a year, city figures show.

Several regional municipalities have followed Surrey's lead and require some level of home water metering, including Delta, Langley, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Richmond, the University Endowment Lands and West Vancouver.

With files from the CBC's Belle Puri