Lake Country - Life. The Okanagan Way.

THE HEART OF THE OKANAGAN
British Columbia, Canada
 

FAQ about new Water Meter mock bills

Frequently Asked Questions about Mock bills for the Universal Water Meter project

What is this mock bill?

A mock bill shows you your current water consumption and how much you will likely pay under the new 2017 metered rates.

Why have you sent it to me?

To give you an idea of how much water you use, so you can adjust your water use habits to conserve resources and save money.

Do I need to pay anything now?

No. This is a “mock” or example bill only.

When will I have to pay the new rates?

In 2017.

How frequently will the mock bill be mailed to me?

Every three months during 2016. Each bill will show your base rate divided by four (Quarterly), and the previous three months consumption.

Can you not send me the mock bill?

All water utility users in the District will receive the mock bills.

My mock bill is lower than what I am paying now, can I switch early?

A full mock billing cycle must occur to ensure funding for the water utility in 2016.

If I have a large residential lot do I receive a reduction?

The cost of supply is the cost of supply. A reduction to one customer type would require an amendment to all the customer types.

I am in the ALR, why do I not receive the agricultural rate?

Only properties that are recognized by BC assessment as having farm status receive water at the agricultural rate.

I used to be charged for irrigation water on a per acre basis, why not anymore?

Only properties that are a recognized by BC assessment as having farm status receive water at the agricultural rate, which is charged on a per acre basis.

My property is a commercial business, why is my base rate determined by my meter size?

Larger buildings require larger meters since they typically have greater fire protection cost, greater system storage cost, and larger system maintenance needs. Therefore these types of properties pay more than a standard residential home.

Who determined the water rates?

Mock bill rates were approved by Council in July 2015.

In 2014 the District reviewed water rates and the billing cycle.  This review considered the number of customers, operational costs, customer type, customer usage, and billing equity.  Universal Metering public consultation was done through the Water Master Plan in 2012.

Does this mean water rates are going up?

Water rates from 2013-2016 were approved to increase $50 dollars per year to fund the implementation of the Water Master Plan.

The metered rate structure has been designed to be revenue neutral, meaning high water users will pay more and low water users will pay less. For the average water user the rates are designed to recover $735 dollars annually per standard single family residential home. This is consistent with the financial strategy as laid out in the Water Master Plan to achieve rate stability and long term water system sustainability.

What is the maintenance fee?

A fee for properties that have water service but have not connected to it. This helps to ensure cost recovery over the life span of that service.

What is the unmetered fee and why is it so high?

A fee for a property owner that has chosen not to participate in the water metering program and remain unmetered. The fee based on the assumption that these properties are using a high volume of water.
Why is there a base rate plus the consumption?

o   Fixed base rate is charged to all homes whether or not the home uses any water. A fixed base rate ensures that fixed costs to the utility for operation and maintenance and fire protection are always recovered.

o   Variable consumption cost is dependent on how much water a property uses. High water users pay more than low water users, but everyone (except agriculture) pays 60 cents per cubic meter (1000 litres) of water.

What is the Water Master Plan?

The Lake Country Water Master Plan sets out a path to improve and protect Lake Country’s water supplies. It provides a broad assessment of the District’s future water source, treatment, and distribution needs. It also proposes a number of infrastructure improvements that will help the District to fulfill legislative requirements and directives from the Interior Health Authority.

Universal metering is a commitment in the District’s approved Water Master Plan. Metering will contribute to achieving the District’s goal of increasing water use efficiency by 25% by 2030.

Why do we need meters?

A number of reasons:

  • Installing water meters has been proven to reduce consumption by 15% to 30% simply by providing information directly to people who use water.
  • When demand decreases, the District has to treat and distribute less water, requiring less chemicals and energy.
  • When a community uses less water, reservoir expansion and watermain upgrades can be avoided or deferred.
  • With better information the District can more quickly identify and control leaky pipes.
  • About 25% of residents in the District already had a meter (prior to the Universal Meter installation program started in 2014) and use much less water than their non-metered neighbours. The system is more equitable if everyone measures their use and has the opportunity to control their own consumption.
  • Using less results in savings that will be passed on to Lake Country rate payers.
  • Having a Water Master Plan and metered consumption shows senior levels of government that conservation is important to the municipality and makes us more eligible for grants.

More Information

I have other questions. Who can I talk to?

You can call the engineering department at 250-766-6677 or send an email to engineering@lakecountry.bc.ca.

Where can I find more information?

The District of Lake Country’s website will be kept up-to-date with new information and progress updates. We will also be posting information about the project on Facebook and Twitter and encourage you to join our online conversations.

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