Water rates revisited

Members of council and municipal staff are still working to find a suitable formula for water meter rates for the community.

Members of council and municipal staff are still working to find a suitable formula for water meter rates for the community.

Coun. Bruce Hallquist said finding a fair system for residential metering has proved difficult and complex.

“Some staff thought it would be simple to put it together. It’s not,” he said.

“It gets to be very complicated.”

Earlier, council had considered a number of billing models, including a base rate for the water service and a price for every cubic metre of water used.

Hallquist said the system appeared simple and workable until larger non-agricultural properties were considered.

He said there are 300 to 400 small acreages which have much higher water demands than residential lots, townhouses and condominiums.

These properties are not agricultural and as such do not fall under the agricultural metering formulas which are already in place.

Metering was to be in place by the beginning of 2012 but Hallquist said the date has now been pushed back.

Council and staff are looking to have metering in place by Oct. 1, 2012.

He said this will also allow the municipality to collect almost a year’s worth of data to use when determining water rates.

At present, residential water users in Summerland pay a flat rate for their water consumption.

Metering water is intended to bring in the same amount of money, although it will change how the billing is calculated.

Mayor Janice Perrino said it is worthwhile spending the additional time to calculate the rates.

“It has to be done right,” she said.

She added that the billing is not meant to penalize those who are using water responsibly when they irrigate their lawns.

“Our goal is to stop the water hogs,” she said.