Water rate structure completed

The rate structure is in place for Summerland’s domestic water metering, five years after the process started.

The rate structure is in place for Summerland’s domestic water metering, although minor adjustments may be needed.

The metering bylaw is expected on the next municipal council agenda, at the Aug. 25 meeting.

The domestic metering system, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, has water rates based on the size of the property and the amount of water needed for irrigation at various times of the year.

“We’ve created an absolutely unique system.” said municipal administrator Tom Day. “We’re at the very forefront of water metering.”

Creating this system has been a long and complex process. The municipality has been working on a water metering system since at least 2009 and during that time, several metering models have been considered.

The municipality has also had numerous open houses and information sessions about the metering options.

“It is the finest rate structure I have seen,” said Don Darling, director of engineering and public works for the municipality.

He said he has noticed  a decrease in water use since the meters were installed, even though homes are still billed for flat rate water use.

At present, around 20 residential properties still do not have meters installed.

Day urges homeowners with questions about metering to contact the municipal public works department. Those who do not have the meters need to get them installed this year.

“By Jan. 1, all water needs to be metered,” he said. “If you have unmetered water, someone else is paying for it.”

Mayor Janice Perrino said the process has been long and difficult. “To say this is an uncomplicated issue is just wrong,” she said.