Do you use too much water? If you do, how would you even know? With no water meters on any of the homes in Golden, it is virtually impossible to get a pin-point number on the actual amount of water each residence in Golden consumes. However, the Town of Golden, as part of the Columbia Basin Trust Water Smart Charter Initiative (which was signed last May), is taking a bold step forward in terms of accurately attaining water consumption information.Currently, the only means of attaining information regarding water consumption is by simply averaging the numbers; dividing the population of the town by total litres pumped. Canada’s national average, utilizing this means of calculation, is 609 litres per day per person. British Columbia’s average is 649 litres per day per person. Golden’s water consumption average is 831 litres per day per person; although these numbers may seem unbelievably high, one must remember that these numbers do not only include residential structures, but also industrial, commercial, and institutional users.It is the fact that Golden’s numbers are quite a bit higher than the national average that has assisted in the spurring on of the Residential Water Meter Pilot Program. With the program in place, the Town will be able to collect solid numbers from a wide array of residences.
“We are hoping to have 50 residents volunteer for the program. We are looking for a very diverse bunch of volunteers. For instance, single dwelling homes, duplexes, apartments, etc…. This way we will be able to have a really good cross-section of homes, in turn we will be able to collect honest and objective numbers,” Manager of Strategic Initiatives for the Town of Golden, David Love said.The five-year process is not something that will happen overnight. Projects such as these take time to organize and initiate, but once the ball is rolling, the program will be covering numerous strategies that the Town currently has in place. The pilot program will be part of the Town’s mantra. It will be following their: Official Community Plan (OCP) regarding ‘Social & Cultural Sustainability’, “Economic Sustainability’, ‘Environmental Sustainability’, as well as the CBT’s Water Smart Charter; the charter is in place to reduce community-wide water consumption by 20 per cent by 2015.“With the pilot program in place, we will be able to collect the appropriate data in order to follow CBT’s Water Smart Charter. If Golden was able to reduce our water consumption by 20 per cent, we would be saving in many areas. For example: with a 20 per cent reduction, the Town would save $18,000 on the electrical cost of running our water system, we would prevent 6.2 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, and extend the life-cycle of the entire water infrastructure,” Love added.To collect the necessary data, water meters will be installed by local plumbers, at no cost to the customer, and then will be read wirelessly by Town staff throughout the months. The collected numbers will then be used to assist the Town in many areas.“We want to learn as much about water consumption as possible. Although two rivers surround us in Golden, people have to realize that we do not have an unlimited supply; the direct water from our rivers is not potable. So, with the program in place, come November we will be able to compare the summer months’ usage (Golden’s busiest time for water consumption) with years past,” Love concluded.The program will also be a means of educating the public. The Town plans on increasing out-of-business-hours patrols, in order to enforce present water restrictions; this does not mean people will be fined or charged for overuse, but will merely be better educated with proper usage techniques.If you are a town resident and are interested in taking part in the Water Meter Pilot Program, you must apply at Town Hall before March 31st. You can do so by visiting Town Hall in person during normal business hours or go to the Town’s website to download the application form: www.town.golden.bc.ca.