Water meters in Tunbridge Wells

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An inspiring title. Yesterday I walked through Calverley Grounds, with puddles where the ice rink had been at Christmas, looking at spring daffodils. I’d just been to a community information talk about installing water meters locally, as it had been found in 2007 that water in the south east was stressed. It was hard to keep straight faces when that fact was read out, it having just stopped raining hard – again.

However, here are some of the more interesting things gained from the talk (I can’t share the coffee and croissant part I’m afraid).

The water is stressed due to the high population rise in the south east, and “future water availability due to climate change”, and SE Water hope a £390M investment now, over 5 years, installing water meters in almost every home, will keep bills low in the future. It basically ‘boiled down to’: We use alot of water around here. We need to use less. So, having a meter gets people to think about how they use water – although it was pointed out, if you have lots of money you probably wouldn’t care, and leave garden sprinklers on all day. But, the idea’s there.

One thing to look for is a AAA energy efficient dishwasher or washing machine when buying, as the AAA rating means it’s water efficient too. Save rain water in a water butt for gardening. Use less water generally indoors – shorter showers, short flush toilets, etc.

As for the meters, they are made of plastic so they have no scrap value, and are tamper proof, and the meters can be read by scanning, so no need to remove covers (I’d like one of these outside for the gas and electricity!) The expected life of the meter is fifteen years, so in a Forth Bridge style operation, once the whole of SE Water area is fitted, they’ll need checking for replacements.

Finally, they aren’t ever allowed to turn off your water, but they would still like you to pay your bills on time. It’s going to be interesting to see what sort of summer we get after this wet winter – sprinklers on or not?

(BTW: I don’t have a sprinkler, just a watering can.)

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