The Water Meter a Power for Conservation Universal Meterage Not Far Off, and Meantime More Cities Are Adopting The System Every Day

IT will probably come as considerable of a surprise both to the manufacturers and to those of their supporters who have been using water meters for many years past, to say that “the water meter has arrived.” When did it happen, and how? A good many of us will reckon that we have had the water meter with us for a powerful spell already and that it couldn’t arrive any more than it has. That, of course, correctly reflects the opinion of those who have always believed in the value of the water meter: those who recognized its merits when it was first advocated and who have realized its value through their own personal experience of many years’ standing. But, strange as it may seem, there are many who have done neither and who in the normal course of events would have continued to be neutral for many years to come.

War time conditions jolted these things-are-goodenough-as-they-are folks into a compulsory recognition of the fact that what meter manufacturers, consulting engineers, and city engineers had been telling them for years was all true and that it was time they took account of it. In other words, the official seal of approval was placed on the water meter as a conserver of coal and machinery—in fact, of practically everything that goes into the maintenance account of a water works system. Numerous investigations were undertaken in different parts of the country and in every instance they revealed wasteful extravagance on a scale far beyond what even the most ardent advocate of saving by metering would have dared to state as the truth before they were undertaken. In one city alone, the annual waste in the single item of fuel was 100,000 tons per year; in a group of nineteen small cities this item was given as 75,000 tons per year. These are typical of the results found in a number of simliar investigations, and in practically every one of the latter it was officially recommended that water meters should be installed since meters alone would eliminate a very large percentage of this waste. In other cases, meters were recommended as a far simpler and less costly alternative to making extensive additions to the pumping plant, since by installing meters waste would be eliminated to a degree where the total consumption would be well within the capacity of the plant. This was done in a number of instances.

When to the above is added the fact that practically every army camp and cantonment established throughout the country was provided with water meters as a part of their regular equipment, so to speak, is it too much to say that the water meter has arrived. Is it conceivable that after the manner in which war time conditions have opened the eyes of the doubters, the half-believers and the inert as to the value of the water meter in saving, that they will drop back to their former state of indifference to waste? Doubtless, some of them would if they were allowed to, but the water meter has proved itself too often in the quarter century that preceded the war, and it only needed this official eye-opening on a countrywide scale to bring deserved recognition, the effects of which are bound to be in evidence from now on. Five years ago, it didn’t seem as if many of us of the present generation would live to see the day of universal metering. That it was inevitable was regarded as a matter of course, but its arrival appeared to be many years in the future.

One of the chief results of war time conservation has been to bring it many years nearer and its approach will be reflected in the greatly accentuated demand for water meters and meter accessories during the coming year. Granted that this demand increases from year to year in the same proportion, it is quite within the probabilities that in principle, at least, universal metering will be with us five years from now.

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