Knowledgebase-Why Do We Need Water Meters and a Water Plant?

Information Product

Title:Why Do We Need Water Meters and a Water Plant?
Summary:MTAS was asked to create a mail out for a city to use.
Original Author:Wyatt, Steve
Product Create Date:04/04/2007
Last Reviewed on::03/09/2010
Subject:Water distribution--Meters; Water--Facilities; Water--Public information
Original Document: Why do we need water meters.pdf

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: Why do we need water meters?

1. Fair and equitable treatment for every customer:

Water meters record the water consumption for a customer. Thus, that customer only pays for what water they used during the billing period. Without meters and everyone paying the same rate, a portion of the customers actually pay for water used by some one else. This is not fair in that part of the cities population is paying for more water than they used and another portion is not paying for all the water they used.

Tennessee State law illustrates this point in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-35-414. Rates and charges:
(a) The governing body of any city or town acquiring and operating a waterworks or sewerage system under the provisions of this part has the power, and it is the governing body's duty, by ordinance, to establish and maintain just and equitable rates and charges for the use of and the service rendered by the waterworks or sewerage system, to be paid by the beneficiary of the service.

By only paying for what you used as shown by the meter with the same rate for every one within a classification allows a water system to have just and equitable rates.

2. Tracking Unaccounted for Water:
Meters allow for a water system to account for water produced versus where it was used. If unaccounted for water is high, the system is producing water which it does not know where it went or how it was used.

3. Promotes Conservation and allows a customer to regulate their water bill:
With a water meter a customer may track their use and reduce their use which will reduce their bill.

Listed below are some estimates for typical household activities and the water consumed by them:

Using water from a tap 1.5 gallons per minute
Clothes washer 30 – 35 gallons per cycle
Washing dishes by hand 20 gallons
Dishwasher 25 gallons per cycle
Shower 2.5 gallons per minute
Bathtub 50 gallons
Toilet 3.5 – 7 gallons
Low – flow toilet 1.6 gallons
Washing the car 100 gallons
Watering the lawn 180 gallons

Why do we need a water plant?

The short answer to the question above is “Public Safety.” The Federal and State Government have enabled the Safe Drinking Water rules and regulations to protect the consumer.

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1973 is the basis for all water regulations in the United States. In Tennessee these requirements are promulgated into Tennessee Code Annotated Section 68-221-701, entitled “Tennessee Drinking Water act of 1983.” These two Acts are amended on an irregular basis. The Rules resulting from these Acts which affect a water system are spelled out in RULES OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION, BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENT, DIVISION OF WATER SUPPLY CHAPTER 1200-5-1, PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS.

These Rules are 281 pages in length and change when Federal and State requirements change. Since 1973, The Laws and Rules regarding Drinking Water have become more numerous, complex and with tighter control on the quality of water consumed. As current Amendments are finalized, regulations will get even more stringent. A centralized water treatment plant is needed to consistently meet current and future requirements

If a utility does not consistently comply with the Safe Drinking Water Rules, either the State of Tennessee or EPA will require the utility to perform a specific set of items to make the water safe. The required items will be listed either in a Director’s Order, Commissioner’s Order or a Court Order. These orders will have a time line as to when each is expected to be completed. There is usually a penalty fine on the order also.

The licensed operator, who runs the system, is civilly and criminally liable for his actions or inactions as they pertain to the rules. The city is also liable for the compliance of the system.