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Meter Program Accelerated While Backyard Water Mains Wait

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

A Sacramento City employee looks for evidence of water waste at a residence by inspecting the water meter.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Tuesday night the City Council approved a request from the City to install about  51,000 meters by 2020.

The department of Utilities will spend $250 million that was previously approved for water meter and backyard water main installations.  

Bill Busath with the Department of Utilities says  this is $65 million less than the City had budgeted between now and 2024.

"Initially the cost is less because of the mains -the backyard mains that we will not be replacing, that we will be leaving in the backyard. But, as those mains are replaced, those savings will be made up and we'll probably even have a little bit of extra expenses in the long term.

Under the new plan, 12,400 backyard meters will have to be replaced and re-installed when the water mains are eventually removed.

Busath says over a 40-year period, the City might spend $20 million extra by the time it has replaced the last backyard main.

The City says it will need to hire about a thousand people to get the water meters installed within five years. Within three years, 93-percent should be installed.

The Department of Utilities says installing the new meters will allow the city to go to a tiered rate system sooner than previously planned, which could help with conservation efforts.

The department hopes more water meters will help the city use 10-percent less water than it does now.

Sacramento has used 20 percent less water since the council voted to make conservation mandatory about a year go.




Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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