On Monday, November 17th, a group of SFHAC members met with Supervisor Scott Wiener and his aide, Jeff Cretan, to discuss the possibility of whether the time is coming to require installation of water sub-meters in new construction in San Francisco. Supervisor Wiener invited SFHAC members to share any insights or experience that might inform a policy change. The context was pretty clear: Climate change and California’s 3-year drought have focused attention like never before on the critical need for water conservation. Also, this issue has been a recurring theme at SFHAC’s Project Review meetings for years. All our members suspect that having individual water meters would cause residents to be much more frugal in using this scarce resource.
We were fortunate to have folks from two firms that already install water sub-meters in all their developments and have practical experience with the equipment, cost and how they’re installed and managed. While we received some earlier comments from members who were concerned about the cost of the meters, their installation and the return on investment, the folks who attended were quite enthusiastic about the benefits. They said that there’s excellent new European technology available, the equipment costs have been falling steadily, and the price per unit runs about $1,200 – $1,500. They were emphatic that the water cost savings makes the return on investment a “no-brainer.”
We hear that the state legislature is also considering drafting a bill in 2015 that would require water sub-metering, though no details are available yet. If the state went forward it would of course supercede any local legislation.
Given the growing state and local interest in water, we would urge SFHAC’s members to begin to learn more!
Image credit: The Atlantic