Surcharge proposed for extra water use

When Summerland moves to a system of water metering next year, it will likely begin with a flat rate, with additional charges for extra consumption.

  • Jun. 22, 2011 4:00 p.m.

When Summerland moves to a system of water metering next year, it will likely begin with a flat rate, with additional charges for extra consumption.

“If you use a lot of water, you will be paying more,” said municipal treasurer Ken Ostraat.

A proposal from municipal staff proposes a rate of $30 a moth for the first 20 cubic metres of water.

The next 20 cubic metres would be charged at 47 cents a cubic metre and any consumption above that would be 65 cents a cubic metre.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the flat rate is needed to cover the basic costs of operating the water system.

“We have a huge water treatment plant that costs money no matter what we do,” she said.

Ostraat said residential water users are averaging 682 litres a day or just over 20 cubic metres a month at present.

There were 1,365 residential water users who were above that amount, averaging 1,282 litres a day or 38.5 cubic metres a month.

Under the proposed rate structure, this amount of consumption would cost $38.70.

The present structure has a flat rate of $34.11 for a single family house, no matter what its consumption.

Those who use less than 20 cubic metres of water a month can save more than $48 over the course of a year.

“There were also a number of users with an inordinate amount of water consumption. In some cases, as much as 10,000 litres per day,” Ostraat said.

“If they had this amount of consumption under the proposed billing rates, they would be paying $208.40 before the discount.”

The proposed rates will cover residential, commercial and industrial water users, with a bulk rate for commercial and industrial customers using more than 300 cubic metres a month.

A different rate structure would be charged for agricultural properties.

Perrino said the billing will not take place until January, although mock bills will be sent in summer.

She said the time frame will allow for fine-tuning of the water billing system.