Water rates climb in Greater Vernon

A proposed water rate hike has become reality.

Regional District of North Okanagan directors voted Wednesday to increase Greater Vernon’s domestic water fees 17 per cent in 2012 and 2013 to fund about $4 million a year for capital enhancements.

Director Rob Sawatzky admits some people won’t welcome the situation but he says the higher fees are necessary for improvements to the system.

“It’s a plan being revisited and revised with expert consultants,” he said.

Sawatzky points out, though, that the utility’s financial plan could also create some challenges.

“With increased rates, people can decrease their consumption and then there’s less revenue coming in,” he said.

Much of the money from the rate hike will go towards separating Duteau Creek agricultural customers from the domestic system because treated water isn’t needed for farm uses.

Separation would increase capacity at the treatment plant to meet domestic needs.

Greater Vernon commercial water rates will jump 18 per cent in 2012 while those for agricultural users will go up five per cent.

Keeping with water, a special committee will be created to look at methods for funding the master water plan.



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