Councilor Bernadette Clement Weighs in on Water Meters – Cornwall Ontario – December 16, 2009

Bernie1We tend to take the most precious things for granted.

Among these precious things is the supply of fresh pure drinking water.

A lot of care and cost go in to making this water available to every household and place of business on demand, 24 hours a day at the flick of a faucet.

This may not be among the most glorious topics, but it is a crucial responsibility of municipal government, as it falls within ensuring the protection of health and safety.

As we move forward into the 21st century, it is time for us to treat what is precious with greater respect.

This includes giving ourselves the means to encourage greater conservation.

Metered water use does just that. Paying for what we use encourages us to use less.

Our current pay by the number of water outlets you have is an out-dated system which penalizes too many who use much less water than others who have fewer outlets in their homes but who use more water.

Water meters are a part of the new greener Cornwall which is moving forward towards the future.

Bernadette Clement

What do you think Cornwall?  Do you agree with Ms Clement?

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  1. Putting water meters in every Cornwall house is not the solution, but a revenue grab. The city, the taxpayer, the water treatment plants (both drinking water and sewage), and the environment would be better served, at a much lower cost, by subsidizing the cost of ultra-low flush toilets.

    Toilets use about 30% of the total water used in a household. An old style single flush toilet can use up to 13 litres of water in one flush. New, more water-efficient dual-flush toilets use only six litres for a full flush and four litres with a reduced flush.

    Many newer homes have six litre toilets, but there are many older homes here that still have the old 13 litre ones. People in the older homes are often the ones least able to pay your higher water rates, nor can they afford to install more efficient toilets.

    The average household flushes about 5000 times per year. Changing to the ultra-low flush toilets would save about 40,000 litres per household.

    Instead of spending millions of dollars for equipment to tax these people more, why aren’t you offering to help constructively? If the money proposed on these water meters were used to help install the ultra-low-flush toilets, you would:

    1) Help people
    2) Save water, and the costs associated with its treatment.
    3) Make the sewage plant more efficient, as there would be a significantly lower of volume to process every day
    4) Help the environment

    If you really need to save water, why not pass (or perhaps enforce) a by-law forbidding people to water their gardens during the rain (and yes, it does happen), or watering in such a way that half of the water ends up down the drain? Other municipalities have and enforce such by-laws.

    And if you really need to increase tax revenue, why not an annual one cent per litre tax on private swimming pools?

  2. thank you,
    I hope your very rational comments will help stir some of those individuals in town towards a similar thought process.
    I have weighed in on this issue, and the responses are poorly composed and ill-thought. I am one of the unfortunate ones with many outlets in my house but very little water consumption. I have been after the city to actually charge me by my metered rate, however, my requests are continually denied.

    I hope this project is implemented very soon.

  3. Author

    Hi Chef Shawn,

    We also live in a 5 bedroom home with 2 washrooms. They aren’t meant for 2 adults. To me having water meters, other than being a cash grab, is like amputating someone’s arm because they get a mosquito bite. A solution; just a very over zealous one.

    If it’s about the cash there are better ways to do it too.

    I just don’t like spending all this money on something that to me does very little; especially in the financial times we are facing and after watching the city go back into debt.

  4. Everybody focuses on the words “cash grab”.
    I would rather see it as “encouraged conservation”. Again, those who are unable to modify their consumption may spend more than they would like to.
    To set the record straight, your water taxes are not based on the number of bedrooms you have, but the number of outlets (every tap, toilet,etc).

    Why didn’t anyone kick up this much of a fuss over an unnecessary Arena that is going to cost each of us a heck of a lot more than water meters. Especially because the arena WILL cost far more than the projected amount. This happens in every case in Ontario where a municipality has built a complex of this magnitude. Either they project a lesser sum to dupe the populous into being okay with building the complex or it can be chalked up to ineptitude. Either way, its not good.
    Why haven’t people complained about the 14% raise, and 3% annual raise of the city’s CAO. Are we getting value for our dollar?

  5. There is nothing in this town that encourages conservation or moderation. One simply has to look at the portion sizes and resultant skyrocketing obesity rates for that.
    Being new to this part of Ontario gives me a fresh perspective on that. Coming from an overpopulated area, we had to take measures to conserve and be responsible. Just because the area can currently support over-consumption because we are not overpopulated, does not mean it is okay or responsible to do so. Another prime example is recycling boxes. Only a few areas in town do I see people making an effort to recycle. This is in stark contrast to any other urban center in Ontario.

    There is a mentality in Cornwall that would be better augmented now, before our expenses increase drastically because our resource output does not meet demand.

  6. Author

    Chef Shawn they have complained. It’s just not been covered by a lot of media out lets. Just like at a recent council meeting there was open debate over $100K in cost savings instead of looking at the bigger issues openly. I’m not pointing a finger when saying that. Just that more people need to get their back sides to city council meetings and more people need to contact their city councilors and let them know that if they want to keep their jobs they should probably listen to the public sometimes more than they do city management or those slick proposers of new fangled and very expensive projects.

  7. While I know this will sound very self-serving, I would appreciate a water meter for our usage of water in our home. My parents go south for the winter, so they aren’t using anything for 6 months and on our side of the house, there are only 2 adults (with almost every water and electricity conservation method possible employed.) Any idea how the meters would be set up? Would they be metering the main line into the house (we only have one line into the building) or do as they do in London, ON – have each residence metered separately with a remote read-out outside?

  8. Oh did we ever complain about the arena. It either fell on deaf ears, or the powers to be just didn’t care about what they were hearing. And then of course you had all the hockey parents crying foul over what everyone else was saying. They also raised what, 1 or 2 million and it is you and I, as well as the rest of the taxpayers that have to pay for it all.

    These water meters are just another cash grab. And coupled with the HST, yeah.. way to go to our leaders out there..

  9. I agree with Richard Komorowski, it is a revenue grab that I doubt can be prevented. Once these City Councillors (who seem to be pushing their own agenda, representing themselves and not the public) make up their minds that we WILL have water meters, at least lets try and save some money on the purchase of water meters.
    Earlier this year the Mayor of Montreal fired a couple of guys and cancelled the purchase of water meters (about $355 Million) due to “conflict-of-interest” and I guess that now someone has a load of water meters they’d love to get rid of. I’m sure they would listen to anyone offering a mere pittance for them. Attention City Councillors: LETS SAVE SOME MONEY!!!

  10. Like your idea Komorowski about supporting people with funding to update toilets to low-flow newer models. This may just be a better starting point then the water meters especially if there is some education to go along with this.

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