Water meter readers, the EPA says, aren’t necessarily being truthful when they complain about their water usage.
A new survey of 1,000 water meter users, commissioned by the EPA, shows that only 15% of them reported they have a “reasonable estimate” of how much their tap water is being used.
That means they’re only guessing.
The survey also shows that more than half of those surveyed said they are only using water for drinking or bathing, not showering, washing clothes, or even for bathing.
The EPA says the survey was designed to “assess the accuracy of water meter claims to be made to the public,” but some are concerned that it could be misleading to consumers.
“It is the opinion of the EPA that this survey has been designed to be informative to water meter purchasers,” a statement from the agency says.
The agency also claims the survey “does not reflect the reality of water usage in the U.S.”
There are some caveats, though.
“This survey is based on the assumption that the water meter has been installed and is operating at the current level of usage,” the agency said in the statement.
“The survey was conducted using a sample of respondents who were unaware that the device was connected to the utility grid.
In the event that there are changes in water usage during a short period of time, the survey may not be accurate.”
Some of the survey respondents have complained that they are not being compensated for their water use, but the EPA isn’t offering them compensation for the cost of installing the meter.
The company that operates the water meters, WaterTap, is asking for $2.3 million in compensation for not being paid for installing the water monitoring equipment.
“To date, we have received no payment from WaterTap and we will not receive any payment from this utility until the utility agrees to pay WaterTap for the water it collects from our customers,” the company said in a statement to Ars.
The government agency has not yet responded to Ars’ request for comment.