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City to measure water use from on high

Drop that hose and back away. The eye in the sky is watching.

The Big Brother era of water use is coming to the greater Hendersonville area as the city gets ready to erect up to 13 poles around the county to read city water usage.
The City Council in February approved an $11.1 million investment in new water meters and poles around the service area. An analysis showed that the system would pay for itself over time by eliminating three to four meter-reading contractors. It also will help the city water department manage water use during droughts, detect leaks and find customers that are now getting free water, said City Manager Bo Ferguson.
The 50- to 80-foot poles are all on city property, usually water tank sites, except for one behind Clear Creek Elementary School, which was authorized on May 14 by the county School Board. A photo-shopped picture shows a pole on a hill in the woods behind the school.
The city received a lease-purchase form of financing at 2.3 percent interest over 15 years with debt service paid by water revenue.
An analysis by the lead contractor, Energy Systems Group, showed that "over the life of the project, it would, A, pay for itself, and B, save $1.5 to $2 million by eliminating three to four positions, plus we get all new meters," Ferguson said.
Contractors will start replacing old meters with new ones in July. The change-out will require customers' water to be cut off for about an hour, Ferguson said.