Agricultural rates

Residents raise questions about the Greater Vernon water system

On June 28, a letter from Gerry Laarakker appeared in The Morning Star asking, “what is the situation here in Vernon” in regards to the use of and costs incurred by agricultural water users and domestic water users.

We would like to answer that question because we are sure he is not the only person interested in the answer.

Domestic water users are bearing the brunt of the costs of new infrastructure projects, such as the Duteau Creek water treatment plant.

As a result of these capital projects, domestic water rates have increased by about  300 per cent since 2002.

Although agricultural water demand is seasonal, it accounts for about 60 per cent of the total water demand, leaving about 40 per cent for domestic use.

However, the water cost allocation for 2015 for domestic users is $15,024,779 and for agricultural users, it is $922,668.

Because the agricultural and domestic water lines are not split residential users are paying for very expensive water to be sprayed on fields and used for livestock.

We don’t object to subsidizing agriculture to some extent, since they provided significant water licenses to the potable water customers, but we do object heartily to providing this expensive, treated water for agricultural use where it is not necessary.

Kathleen and Hugh Cameron