The City of Charlottetown water and sewer utility has launched the Take Control program, a new initiative designed to encourage flat-rate water customers to switch to water meters. Incentives are being offered to those who are willing to make the switch.

As part of this initiative, the City will cover the cost of the $200 meter installation. If a household’s bill increases despite the new meter and the best efforts to conserve, the City will refund the difference to meet the former flat-rate level in 2014. Customers who are already metered and encourage others to make the switch to a metered system will receive a $25 credit toward their own water bill. These “Water Saver Champions” can save up to $75 by recruiting a limit of three people to the metered system.

The Take Control program was introduced to the public through a special insert with the latest water bills. Three hundred households have already taken advantage of the new initiative. The goal of the Take Control program is to see 1,000 households moving to the metered system by the end of 2014.

“The Take Control program targets water conservation measures while providing savings to our residents,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford J. Lee. “The benefits and incentives of this program are a winning combination for both residents and the City’s water and sewer utility.”

Research indicates a water meter could save an average of four cubic metres per customer per month. Equating the research to the utility’s objective of 1,000 new meters installed, potential results could indicate up to 48 million litres conserved in the first year.

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According to Councillor Edward Rice, chair of the City’s water and sewer utility, “This new program is a great fit with our current focus on water conservation. The new program complements the City’s current multitude of water conservation programs, further benefiting our water supply through sustainable means. We’ve received so much positive feedback from residents that metering is working for them as conservation and, in many cases, a money-saving tool. We’re pleased to be able to offer these incentives to continue the momentum for our metering program. We don’t want people to become complacent. Water conservation is important year-round, each year.”

The City will track water reduction by monitoring water meters until the goal of 48 million litres has been achieved. Progress will be posted regularly on a special Take Control sign located next to Charlottetown’s historic Malpeque Road Water Works Station. Progress will also be posted at BeWaterFriendly.ca, which also includes more information on the Take Control program, a range of conservation tips, and an online water usage calculator to help customers gauge their household water consumption.

In October 2013, Charlottetown City Council approved a change to Utility Rules & Regulations that will require all flat-rate customers to become metered by December 31st, 2019.

– Kristen Curtis

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