The quest for a fair billing system continues as Summerland moves from a flat rate to metering water consumption.
Under a metered system, those who use little water pay less while those who use much must pay more.
Metering is not meant to bring additional money into municipal coffers. Instead, the only changes are in the amounts each individual water user must pay.
For those living in apartments, townhouses and condominiums, a metered water rate will be low, since they are not watering lawns and gardens.
For those who insist on wasteful watering practices and overwatering, a metered system will see them paying considerably more.
The drawback comes for those in single family houses who use moderate amounts of water in the house and outside. A metered water system will see their charges increase, at least during the summer months.
If this increase is modest, there is no problem. However, members of municipal council say the increased costs for those in single family homes are unfair.
At the same time, the present flat rate system is not fair either. Under a flat rate system, those who work to conserve water will pay exactly the same amount as those who use water irresponsibly and wastefully.
Almost any metered model will be an improvement over our present system.
We appreciate the effort being made to ensure the billing is as fair as possible. It is important to have a billing system which does not unfairly penalize anyone.
At the same time, no billing system is perfect and no matter which model the municipality eventually adopts, flaws in the system will eventually surface.
If a good model is used at the start, future adjustments will be easy to make.