Water rate plans presented

As the municipality continues to look for a water metering solution, the public will be able to raise concerns and opinions.

As the municipality continues to look for a water metering solution, the public will be able to raise concerns and opinions at an open house on March 14.

At present, Summerlanders pay a flat rate for water use, but the municipality is moving to a metering system in order to manage the water supply and stop those who are wasting water.

“It’s probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” Mayor Janice Perrino said of the search to find a good metering system. “It’s a very complicated issue.”

At present, the municipality has two billing systems which will be presented.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said the two options both begin with a base rate for the service, followed by rates for the amount of water used.

The first option begins with a base rate of $24 for the water service.

The use rates are based on the size of the property.

A rate of 25¢ a cubic metre will be charged for 114 millimetres of water a month, on 70 per cent of the size of the property.

This figure is based on the amount of water needed to irrigate a property.

On an average residential lot, the house, garage and driveway account for 30 per cent of the area of the land, leaving 70 per cent which can be irrigated.

A rate of $1 per cubic metre is charged for any water use above the amount allowed according to the formula.

“You can go over as much as you want if you’re prepared to pay $1 a cubic metre,” McIntosh said.

Strata units, which do not have surrounding land, are allowed up to 15 cubic metres a month at the rate of 25¢, while water use above this amount would be charged at $1 a cubic metre.

These rates remain constant throughout the year.

The second water option begins with a base rate of $23 a month for the service, followed by usage rates of 25¢, 50¢ and $1.10 a cubic metre, depending on the amount used.

In summer, lots of up to .08 hectares would have the first 60 cubic metres at the lowest rate, the next 15 cubic metres at the second rate and any excess at the highest rate.

Lots between .08 and .16 hectares would get the first 100 cubic metres at the lowest rate and the next 30 cubic metres at the second rate.

For lots between .16 and .24 hectares, the first 140 cubic metres would be at the lowest rate, with the next 45 cubic metres at the second rate.

Properties above .24 hectares would pay the lowest rate for the first 180 cubic metres and the second rate for the next 60 cubic metres.

In winter, all properties would pay the lowest rate for the first 25 cubic metres of water, with the next 10 cubic metres at the second water rate.

McIntosh said water use rises dramatically during the summer months.

In winter, the municipality uses 2.5 megaliths a day, while in summer, water use exceeds 75 megaliths a day.

“That’s all to do with irrigation,” he said.

Perrino said the rates must be set to pay for the system and to penalize those who use excessive amounts of water.

“We have to stop the water hogs,” she said.

The open house will be held on March 14 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the IOOF Hall on Main Street.