Water meters should be spinning away on the West Bench by the end of the year, setting the stage for eventual usage-based billing.
The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen last week approved the $894,395 contract to install 360 meters, which in most cases will be placed in pits just outside property lines to capture both residential and irrigation water use.
According to an RDOS staff report, the meters are expected to be in place by late fall. Data will be captured for a year to establish baseline consumption that will then be used to develop a rate structure.
Work on the $9.8-million water system upgrade is expected to be complete by the end of 2013 and will connect residents to the Penticton municipal supply.
The contract for meter installation was awarded to local company Grizzly Excavation, although it didn’t have the lowest bid. TGK Irrigation offered to do the work for $711,806, while Corix Utilities’ bid came in at $876,245.
The staff report recommended the board select Grizzly Excavating, however, because the company has “significant knowledge of local ground conditions,” thanks to previous work on the West Bench water system. Plus, it committed to use a certified plumber to hook up the meters and hire a landscaping company to clean up afterwards.