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by Anna LaRue •
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photo credit: freefoto.com
Many residents of California don’t have water meters. According to a recent column in the San Francisco Chronicle by Peter Gleick, the recent legislation mandating water meters is needed, as the many residents of California that don’t have meters are very reluctant to install them.
But everyone should have meters. According to Ellen Hanak, a water researcher with the Public Policy Institute on California, metered cities use about 15 percent less water than unmetered cities, and cities with a tiered rate system use an additional 10 percent less (via KQED).
A few statistics from Gleick’s column:
— Sacramento only has meters in 25 percent of residences, and has no plans to meter everyone else anytime soon.
— In the San Joaquin Valley, more than half of all residents don’t have water meters.
— The city of Fresno charges all single-family households a flat rate, no matter how much water is used.
Fresno’s water rates are some of the lowest in California, and it has some of the highest water use (3 times as high as Los Angeles residents, and 5 times as high as San Francisco residents, via The California Report). There is an interesting study comparing water rates – when the study was conducted (2006), the average monthly charge was $18.52 in Fresno County, $37.55 in Alameda County, and $57.25 in Santa Cruz County.
The meters are coming. There are several laws that will require the installation of meters for all Californians (via KQED).
— All homes built after 1992 must have meters.
— Cities that receive federal water have to install meters by 2013.
— All California cities have to install meters by 2025.
Seriously, though, 2025 is a long time for a state that has major water management issues.
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Last year, there was a story from The California Report that covers the struggle to meter reluctant Fresno residents (listen to the story here).