According to the City of Chicago Department of Water Management (1) (2009), MeterSave “is a program offered by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management to non-metered Chicago homeowners to voluntarily install meters to help them save water and save money”. The program gives incentives to homeowners across Chicago to install water meters that monitor the use of water (ibid.). This helps homeowners to control and eventually reduce their water consumption. The program is promoted by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management as an effort to reduce water consumption within the city. The internet page of the program provides further information about water usage, tells homeowners why they should care and gives tips on how to actually save water (Department of Water Management, 2009 (2)).
According to an article by Eric Zorn, published by the ChicagoTribune newspaper in 2014, the MeterSave program is part of the policy to change the water tax system in Chicago from a flat rate model to a pay-as-you-use model. People were skeptical when the program enrolled in 2011. It was too good to be true as homeowners would get a meter for free that helps them save water and money. Yet, according to Zorn (2014), 16’000 meters were installed by 2013, 4’000 more than expected.
According to spokesman Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board (in Zorn, 2014), the program was successful because it put the power back into the hands of the consumers and gave attractive incentives to them: As they save water, they save money.
Regulations are often tricky to implement. A program like this, that works with incentives rather than regulations, is appealing if the incentives are beneficial to the consumers. The implementation, whether done through incentives or regulations, takes time. According to Zorn (2014), over 270’000 unmetered homes in Chicago.
Department of Water Management (1) (2009). What is MeterSave? Found under https://www.metersave.org
Department of Water Management (2) (2009). Water Saving Tips. Found under https://www.metersave.org/tips.aspx
Zorn, Eric (2014). Get a Water Meter? H2 oh yes. ChicagoTribune, February 2nd, 2014. Found under http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-02/opinion/ct-oped-0202-watermeter-marriage-zorn-20140202_1_water-meter-water-bill-water-department