How Meters Affect Rates and Consumption

How Meters Affect Rates and Consumption

A Study of the Rates and Meter Installation of Cities and Towns of Ohio—Comparison Between Metered and Unmetered Municipalities

THE following article, besides giving some very important data regarding Ohio water departments which have and have not adopted universal meterage, still presents a striking argument in favor of the universal adoption of the water meter in measuring the consumption and waste of water. The information contained in the article will be found of considerable use to superintendents of water works.

A study of meter rates and meter installations was undertaken by the State Department of Health of Ohio, as a result of a large demand for information on this subject by officials of Ohio cities and villages. This demand was brought about by the increased cost in the operation of water works.

The study indicates that for cities and villages of Ohio with services 100 per cent, metered, the average daily consumption is 90 gallons per capita and for cities and villages with no metered services, the average daily consumption is 170 gallons per capita. The average domestic rate in Ohio for surface water supplies filtered is slightly higher than the average domestic rate for well water supplies, while the average manufacturing rate for filtered water is slightly less than the average manufacturing rate for well water supplies.

In comparing the water consumption of cities and villages with and without metered services and in predicting how much metering will reduce the water consumption many factors must be taken into consideration. The more important of these factors are the use of water for manufacturing purposes, the use of private industrial water supplies, the use of private wells for domestic purposes, the condition of the distributing system, the character of the water, the extent to which a city or village is sewered and the cost of water. For a lack of definite information on these many factors, we have not attempted to draw any definite conclusion as to how much water consumption might be reduced by complete metering, but have simply recorded the consumption as we have found it in the various cities and villages.

One cannot conclude that the rates as they exist in Ohio indicate that filtered water is necessarily more expensive than well water since the installation of water purification plants has generally been more recent than the installation of well water supplies. As a result rates for filtered water have been increased in some instances to meet the cost of installation rather than the cost of producing water. We, therefore, cannot draw any definite conclusion from these rates, but must simply state the rates as they are found to exist.

In making a study covering such a large number of cities and villages (150) as we have included in our list for study, it has been necessary to rely largely upon the co-operation of the officials connected with the various water works under consideration. For the most part, we have had the full and hearty co-operation of these officials.

Data on Meter Installations and Meter Rates for Ohio Cities with Populations above 15,000 compiled by Department of Health, State of Ohio

Key: F— Filtration. SF—Softening plant. W—Well supply. Co.—Company. Con.—Consumer. M—Monthly. Q—Quarterly. *—Based on population of city and of nearby municipalities served by city. —Water waste survey reduced this figure from 165 to 135 in 1922. A & B—Consumption for Class A & B based on average for 1921. C—Consumption for Class C based on futures obtained from City for 1922. Domestic Rate—25,000 gallons or less per month. Intermediate Rate—25,000 to 250,000 gallons per month. Manufacturing Rate—250,000 gallons per month or over.

Information for this study was obtained from three sources, namely, information blanks sent out to each water works official; monthly reports on the operation of water purification plants, and records of investigations made by representatives of the State Health Department.

Questions as to Water Works

The largest amount of information was obtained from blanks sent out to water works officials. Each official was asked to furnish information on the following items:

  1. Total number of all services.
  2. Total number of metered services.
  3. Is metering compulsory?
  4. Meter reading (monthly or quarterly)
  5. Meters owned by
  6. Meters maintained by
  7. Meters installed by
  8. Cash deposit required

In most instances all of the first eight questions were answered completely. Under the item, Meter Rates, most of the officials either filled in the blank spaces or submitted a schedule of rates with the information blank.

(Continued on page 69)

Data on Meter Installations and Meter Rates for Ohio Cities with Populations from 5,000 to 15,000 compiled by Department of Health, State of Ohio

Key: F Filtration. SI* Softening Plant. WWell Supply. I—Iron Removal Plant. S— Surface Supply without filtration. SS—Surface Supply with storage reservoir. Co.—Company. Con.—Consumer. M—Monthly. Q—Quarterly. SA—Semi-annually. *—Based on population of city and nearby municipalities served by city. Domestic Rate—25,000 gallons or less per month. Intermediate Rate—25,000 to 250,000 gallons per month. Manufacturing Rate—250,000 gallons per month or over.

How Meters Affect Rates and Consumption

(Continued from Page 62)

Under the table. “Summary of Data on Metered Services,” the first item, “number of metered services,” was filled in more completely than any of the other items in this table, but the information obtained, indicated that the different types of services, especially intermediate and manufacturing were often confused. This was evidenced in the reports of the smaller cities and villages where often the number of manufacturing services, it they reallv existed, based on a use of 250,000 gallons or more per month, would exceed the total water consumption of the city or village. However, this item does give some indication of the number ot industries using the public water supply for manufacturing purposes.

Under the second and third items, little information was secured and in our tables no Consideration was given to them.

The question of water consumption was omitted on the first blanks sent out, but was included on a second list which was sent to all cities and villages hav-

ing well water supplies. Consumption for cities and villages with water purification plants was obtained from the monthly reports of operation received by the State Health Department.

How Cities Were Classified

It has been the practice of the Division of Sanitary Engineering where possible, to secure information regarding water consumption and meter installations on each investigation that is made in the field. In this way we have secured some data which otherwise would not be available.

For purposes of comparison, cities were divided into six classes. A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Class A represents all cities with a poulation of 50,000 or more regardless of the type of supply.

Class B represents cities with populations from 15.000 to 50,000 and which purify water by filtration.

Class C represents cities with populations from 15,000 to 50.000 which secure their water supplies from wells.

Class D represents cities with populations from 5,000 to 15,000 which purify water by filtration.

Class E represents cities with populations from 5,000 to 15,000 which secure their water supplies from wells.

Class F represents cities with populations from 5,000 to 15.000 which obtain water from a surface supply which is not treated in a water purification plant.

Data on Meter Installations and Meter Rates for Ohio Villages with Populations from 2,000 to 5,000 compiled by Department of Health, State of Ohio

Key: F—Fil.ration. SF—Softening Plant. W—Well Supply. I—Iron Removal Plant. S—Surface supply without filtration. Co.—Company. Con.—Consumer. V—Village. M—Monthly. Q—Quarterly. SA—Semi-annually. *—Based on population of village and nearby municipalities served by village. Domestic Rate—25,000 gallons or less per month. Intermediate Rateemdash;25,000 to 250,000 gallons per month. Manufacturing Rate—250,000 gallons per month or over.

Classification of Villages

Villages were divided into classes, G and H.

Class G represents villages with populations front 2,000 to 5,000 which purify water by filtration.

Class H represents villages with populations front 2,000 to 5,000 which secure their public water supply from wells.

The eight classes include all of the cities in Ohio and all of the villages having public water supplies and populations from 2,000 to 5,000.

Plate I—Curve Showing Relation of Water Consumption to Metering for Cities in Ohio

The data obtained have been compiled in three tallies and include in addition to the infc rmation asked for on the blanks sent out, the type of supply and the population served. These tables are the most valuable part of our study on meter installation and meter rates.

What Study of Tables Shows

A study of these tables indicates the general effect of metering on water consumption. This is graphically shown in Plates I and II where consumption in gallons per capita per day is plotted against per cent. services metered. The graph shows that the average daily consumption for 100 cent. metered cities and village in Ohio 90 gallons, and the average daily consumption for cities and villages without meters is 170 gallons. Plotting a curve for cities alone, we find the average daily consumption for 100 per cent, metered cities to he 100 gallons per capita and 170 gallons per capita for cities without meters. The lowering of the consumption curve when cities and villages are plotted together is probably due to the lack of sewerage systems in many of the villages.

Plate II—Curve Showing Relation of Water Consumption to Metering in Cities and Villages in Ohio

A summary of the average rates for the various classes of cities and villages together with the average consumption and average per cent, metered is shown in Table 1. (See preceding column.)

Notes—The average consumption for each class is a weighted average according to populations of various municipalities.

The percentage of services metered is obtained by dividing the number of metered-services by the total number of services for each class.

Tables Show Higher Cost for Larger Cities

It will be noted from this table that the larger the city the lower the average cost of water per thousand gallons, and that the average cost of filtering water as indicated by the rates for domestic use is slightly higher than for well water supplies without filtration. However, the average cost of filtered water for manufacturing purposes is slightly lower than the cost for well water for manufacturing purposes. In the column marked, domestic rate, class G, it will he noted that the rate of seventy-one cents is exceptionally high. This is due to the rate charged by one village alone, which, if omitted, would bring the domestic rate down to forty-eight cents per thousand gallons, making it comparable with water obtained from wells for villages in the same class.

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