Kingsburg water meters change watering habits

Kingsburg homeowners have noticed a big shift when it comes to their water bill. After years of paying a flat fee, they are now getting water meters.
April 16, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kingsburg homeowners have noticed a big shift when it comes to their water bill. After years of paying a flat fee, they are now getting water meters.

One by one, crews are installing new additions to homes in Kingsburg, water meters. The state mandated that the city put them in and now crews are working on the second phase of that project.

Kingsburg City Manager Alex Henderson said, "With the drought, everyone's pretty mindful of the water situation in California. Having our wells metered and homes metered allows us to keep track of our aquifers and make sure we have enough water."

Henderson says before the change, city residents paid a flat fee and now they're paying for every drop. Despite concerns, the city is already seeing changes.

"We saw a substantial decrease in the amount of water usage," said Henderson. "So again once you start to see how you're paying each month, then maybe you pay a little more attention to it."

Anthony Alvarez is has lived in Kingsburg for nearly three decades. He's had the meters a few months and has already changed his watering habits when it comes to his outdoor plants.

"Doing it 5 minutes a day and that's all it's going to get," said Alvarez. "If the grass starts to die, too bad. If my wife's flowers start to die, I told her that's what we are going to do until we understand how the system works."

Alvarez says his bill went up slightly with the meters, but he knows summer months can really add up.

"I'm retired," said Alvarez. "I'm on a fixed income. So our concern is anytime something goes up it affects my bottom line."

Despite the change, Alvarez says the meters have caused him to think twice and to conserve.

"Because of the drought, we need to conserve water," said Alvarez. "I think the farmers need the water and we're not going to have any food. And if it is, the cost of food is going to go through the roof."

Crews will continue installing water meters across the city through the fall. In total, about 3,200 homes will be a part of this new water change.

City officials say after the first set of meters were installed, they saw water usage drop by one million gallons per day. But it will still take time to see how much people will conserve in the future.