Water utility review could mean rate hikes and restructuring for Kamloops residents - InfoNews

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Water utility review could mean rate hikes and restructuring for Kamloops residents

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February 04, 2017 - 9:45 AM

KAMLOOPS - How much Kamloops residents pay for water may be changing.

The city is planning a review of the waterworks bylaw this year which could result in a restructuring of the water rates paid by residents and businesses in Kamloops. City utilities manager Greg Wightman says the review is just starting and won’t be before council with potential changes until the fall.

“Essentially we’re looking at the entire water bylaw,” he says. “It was originally done in 1983.”

Since 1983 there have been regular amendments, but it’s almost 35 years old and he says it’s likely time to redo the entire policy, which includes the rates for anyone using water in the city.

One of the more recent changes has been the installation of new water meters. Since the last of the meters have just recently been installed comprehensive data is just now being collected for the whole city.

“We’ve seen a major reduction in water usage since the introduction of water meters,” Wightman says. “It does have an impact on our revenue.”

According to a draft of the city’s five year financial plan, the city has seen a $1.7 million decrease in revenue due to lower water consumption. While a decrease may mean a rate hike is necessary, Wightman says it’s too early to predict if and how much. Lower water consumption will also mean some savings on the city’s end as well because less water has to be pumped.

The review and recommendations won’t be out until at least the fall he says, because the department needs to meet with other city departments, collect data from the water meters and and study what other cities are doing. However, Wightman says nothing too drastic is likely to be considered.

Current water rates are set with a fixed rate for every site and a consumption rate determined by an allowed amount of water and an increase in rates after that. The fixed rate is currently $242.30 for the average home, which was set by amendment in 2012.

“Do we want to put more emphasis on consumption or fixed capital charge?” Wightman says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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