New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Universal Water Metering Program

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for the operation and maintenance of New York Cityís municipal water system. In 1988, DEP initiated its Universal Water Metering Program. The purpose of the program was to charge customers for actual water usage (customers were previously charged a flat rate not based on usage).

We examined the status of the Universal Water Metering Program found that DEP had installed water meters for most of its customers and converted most of these customers to usage-based billing. However, DEP was well behind schedule in its efforts to systematically replace thousands of meters that were at, or near the end of, their useful lives. Since such meters typically fail to record some or all water usage, the goals of water conservation and rate equity were at risk of being undermined if these meters were not soon replaced. To preserve the gains that were made when the meters were first installed, we recommended certain improvements be made in DEPís meter replacement efforts. Using revenue forecasts prepared by DEP, we concluded that New York City could have realized an estimated $32 million in additional revenue during fiscal years 2006 and 2007 if water meters had been replaced on schedule. In addition, we identified the need for certain improvements in DEPís repair and replacement of malfunctioning meters.

For a complete copy of Report 2006-N-2 click here.