SPRING HILL, Kan. — On Thursday, the Spring Hill City Council voted unanimously to allocate $250,000 for water meter replacement.
Public Works Director Jackie Messer said the city stopped regularly replacing water meters a few years ago. Most cities replace water meters on a regular basis because, over time, water meters slow down and stop providing accurate readings. In some cases, water meters will show a much lower rate than what is actually being used.
“As the meter gets older, they favor the customer. While that’s nice for the residents, it doesn’t help for the expenditures,” Messer said.
While the total revenue loss is unknown, Messer estimates 20-30% of the water sold is unaccounted for.
Currently, there are roughly 500 residential meters installed throughout the city. Some of the meters require city workers to touch the meter to get a reading. Other models allow city workers to walk by and scan the meter.
Starting in January 2024, the meters will no longer be supported by the current operating system. After the software expires, the only way to read the meters will be to remove the lid and manually write down the reading.
According to city documents, it currently takes staff four days to read meters and an additional day to correct misreads and mistakes.
The city will use roughly $200,000 to purchase replacement meters and $50,000 to upgrade meters with equipment that can be read remotely. Messer said replacing the meters now will prevent the city from incurring any additional costs from the inaccurate water readings in the future.
“This is going to hurt on the onset, but eventually it will level out and end up saving us money 10 years down the road,” Mayor Joe Berkey said.
Messer said due to supply chain issues, the meters are not likely to be delivered until the spring 2023.
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