From time to time, the advantages of metering the water use of individual households comes before the Common Council, and it is regularly decided that the City will continue with the current practice of charging everyone the same flat rate. The last time the issue was raised, the arguments against it included the possibility that the amount of money raised by the City through water and sewer rates might actually decrease if people paid based on their actual usage and that access to clean water is a basic human right and hence households using less water should subsidize households using more. The notion that paying for the actual amount of water used might encourage people to conserve water never seems to be a big part of the discussion.
The discussion of water meters goes back a long way. One hundred years ago, in 1915, a Charter Revision Committee, created by the Common Council, was working on revisions to the city charter. The departments, as well as individual residents, were invited to submit their suggestions for amendments to the charter. What follows is a suggestion from the Commission of Public Works, which was published in the Hudson Evening Register on December 7, 1915.
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