Water meter options studied

A water consultant will help municipal council and staff develop a method for billing Summerlanders for water use.

At the municipal council meeting on Aug. 8, council passed a resolution to hire an independent source to determine appropriate water rates and to prepare a report for council.

“There are a lot of different ways to structure the water meter rates, but none satisfy everyone,” said municipal administrator Don DeGagne.

At present, Summerlanders who are not on agricultural properties pay flat rates for their water consumption.

This means someone who does not irrigate a lawn and garden and who does not use much water in the home will pay the same as a neighbour who irrigates heavily and has high water consumption inside.

DeGagne said this means those who use little water are subsidizing the heavier water users.

When water metering is introduced next year, some residents will pay more while others will pay less than under the present system.

“There’s going to be a switching of the burden,” he said.

He said the rates can easily be adjusted after a year if necessary, but the initial rate structure is more difficult.

“There are so many different variables,” DeGagne said. “It becomes difficult to find one solution.”

The most recent water structure considered by municipal council would see a flat rate in place for the water service, but an additional charge for every cubic metre of water consumed.

Mayor Janice Perrino said council and municipal staff have considered several models for water metering rates, but she does not consider any of them fair.

Under the various metering systems, those who live in apartments or townhouses and have no lawns or gardens will pay significantly less than at present, while those in single family homes with lawns and gardens will pay considerably more.

“Most people don’t overwater,” she said. “We’re not trying to hurt those people The whole idea of metering is to get the water hogs.”



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