Drive-by water meter reading on the way

Town manager Scotty Edgerton holds an example of the water meters that will be upgraded by the Town of Hay River.

Town manager Scotty Edgerton holds an example of the water meters that will be upgraded by the Town of Hay River.

Town council has decided to buy a system to read water meters by simply driving by a residence or business.

At its April 25 meeting, council passed a motion to direct administration to purchase the ‘Master Meter Drive By System’ for approximately $220,000 fully installed.

The system features the ability to convert existing meters so they can be read by radio.

Prior to the vote, Coun. Roger Candow said the new system will serve the town well.

“It will be adequate for what we need it to do and upgradable for the next 15 to 20 years coming,” Candow said.

Coun. Steve Anderson also supported the purchase.

“I think we should move on this as quickly as possible,” he said. “I think it’s just like having a cash register in a store. You need a cash register. So I think it’s good for accuracy.”

Mayor Brad Mapes said the new system is the cheapest option for the town.

“Right now, you have to manually go to each person’s house,” he said. “This unit is going to eliminate that. We just go down the street and it’s actually monitoring it from the street.”

Speaking late last week, Mapes – who was not at the April 25 meeting – said the town has had problems monitoring water usage for years.

“Some of the meters weren’t working, and we had to make credits for areas where the meters weren’t working right,” he said.

Mapes said the town has lost money because of the problems but he had no estimate of how much.

“That’s just keeping up with the Joneses,” he said of the new system. “We need to keep moving forward.”

The new system will be provided by McKay Water Works Supply Ltd. of Edmonton.

The company currently has similar systems installed in Fort Simpson, and locations in Alberta, including Mackenzie County, Rainbow Lake, High Level, Slave Lake and Wetaskiwin.

–Paul Bickford