Over the next few weeks, residents living in Discovery Bay West will test-drive a 30-day mock water-metering program. If successful, the program will begin generating real water usage bills by July 1.
Pending contractual approval, the Discovery Bay Community Services District (CSD) has agreed to a 60-day trial period with the Datamatix Company, which will install, read and maintain the town's first water-metering program.
The purpose of the trial, said Town Manager Virgil Koehne, is to offer residents a look at how the system will work, and what they can expect to pay.
What I really, truly believe we need to do, said Koehne during the April 2 CSD meeting, is we need to educate those users and let them know what their bills are going to be like 30 days from now. At the end of the month we will generate a mock invoice, send it to them with a cover letter and say, If this was a real invoice, this is what your bill would be.'
Following the test period, residents will have 60 days to reduce their water usage before receiving an official bill in July. We're going to try to do that with every segment as we go through, and give them a 30-day opportunity to adjust their lifestyles, said Koehne.
The implementation of the water meters is part of a statewide water conservation mandate that requires all residential properties to be up and operating with water meters by 2024. Currently, Discovery Bay residential property owners are billed a flat rate on their tax bill based on lot size. Once the program is up and running, homeowners' water bills will no longer be included in their taxes.
Implementation of the meters in the newer parts of Discovery Bay will involve a one-time charge of approximately $125, said Koehne. For some of the older houses with vintage meters, the cost of bringing them up to date could cost a few hundred dollars more.
The Discovery Bay West neighborhood was chosen as the first test site because its houses are installed with the newest types of water meters, said Koehne. But there was another reason for picking the west area.
Because these homes are at the far end of our boundary lines, we wanted to make sure radio tests for reading the meters could be done as well, he said. We can send it through the radio, and if we reach there, then the rest of Discovery Bay will be a slam-dunk. It's about 2