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Multi-Family (Strata) Dwelling Water Meters

Apartment Complex in Surrey

The City of Surrey's practice is to provide 1 free master meter for an entire strata or multi-family dwelling.

A master meter will measure the combined property water consumption. The strata benefits by paying only for the water consumed. A strata can save as a group if their water usage does not exceed the flat rate equivalent. The flat rate system shares all the cost of water equally amongst all flat rate users, regardless of how much water they use.

Master Meter Installation Costs

The Strata Corporation will be responsible for all the costs associated with any modifications needed to install the meter. The cost to install a water meter depends on a number of factors including

  • a concrete chamber,
  • by-pass, valving and
  • surface restoration.

A strata can expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a complex with a split water system or up to $60,000 for a combined water system. A combined water system is where the fire hydrants share the same pipe that the domestic water comes from.

Master Meter Billing

Once the master meter is installed, the strata council will receive a water bill from the City based on the total volume used by the strata. It is up to the Strata or single owner to determine how the charges will be allocated and collected from the individual units.

If owners have already paid the flat rate for the full year, the City will prorate this amount and refund the individual owners the unused portion.

Getting a Water Meter for Your Strata

A council resolution is required as proof to the City that all strata owners are aware of the conversion from flat rate to a metered account. A strata must appoint 1 representative who will put together the following:

  1. Gather Information
  2. Establish Cost (Request Quotes)
  3. Seek Strata Council Approval
  4. Send Application to the City

Download and complete your Volunteer Master Water Meter Application

Why the City does not meter individual units

The City of Surrey has a policy of installing a master meter for strata properties, with no provision for submetering of individual units for the following reasons:

  • Water System within the strata is owned and maintained by the strata.
  • There may be common water use, e.g. irrigation system, common laundry, etc within the strata which requires seperate meters.
  • Unaccounted water use such as leakage of pipes and unauthorized water use such as connections made after meter installation are beyond the control of the City.
  • Due to the plumbing layout, especially in high-rise buildings, the installation of water meters in an existing premise will involve removal of partitions and ceilings, which would be very expensive.
  • Water usage between different units within a strata is more uniform than that between single-family properties of different size thus removing some of the incentive to provide meter for each unit.
  • The cost of sub-metering may be greater than the vairance or the benefit expected for each resident.

Contact Sig Bernat, Project Supervisor of the Surrey Water Meter Program by email at sbbernat@surrey.ca , fax at 604-591-8693 or phone at 604-591-4577 with any questions on multi-family dwelling water meters.