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Merced Council buys water meters for remaining residents

Mike Conway

Post Date:05/14/2015

Merced Council approves water meters for all residents

For immediate release

Soon everyone in the City of Merced will have a water meter. The City Council unanimously approved an emergency resolution Wednesday night to buy water meters for the 10,800 residential customers that don't have meters.

City officials estimate that the installation of water meters will save between 20 to 28 percent of the annual water used in Merced. The state has ordered the City to reduce water consumption by 36 percent by February 28, 2016. The City pumps approximately 24 million gallons of water a day from its 23 wells.

The City will spend an estimated $330 per meter for a total of $3,564,000. The meters will be delivered in approximately 10 shipments over the next year. The City standardized its water meter system to Badger brand meters in 2009.

All commercial water users in the City have water meters and about half of the residential water customers already have meters. Staff has determined that unmetered households, on average, use almost twice as much water as a metered home during the year.

Staff is working on a plan to determine where the meters will first begin getting installed.

The City has been active in its efforts to conserve water for decades. It cut back outside watering to two days last year, long before the state issued its regulations on outdoor watering.

The City hired a water conservation specialist in 2011 year to educate the residents and enforce its water ordinances. It is hiring additional staff for the next budget year starting in July to help with its education and enforcement efforts.

The City had its first water conservation ordinances in place in 1992 when it established its first odd-even outdoor watering schedule and other water-saving measures.

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