The Duteau Creek water source will be turned off from Monday to March 31 for maintenance. - Morning Star file photo

The Duteau Creek water source will be turned off from Monday to March 31 for maintenance. - Morning Star file photo

Greater Vernon water rates challenged

LETTER: Resident’s water bill for third quarter $800!

We recently received a water bill for the third quarter and it was $800 for three adults and five-year-old girl. Looking at surrounding rate schedules it looks as though the bill would have been half as much in Thomson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) or the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS).

I am writing to understand how the Regional District of the North Okanagan came to its rate schedule? By my experience of not flushing after using the washroom, watering the lawn to barely keep it alive to the point of not having to mow it all summer, I am left wondering what else I can do to cut water use and what do people who are on a fixed income do in this desert climate?

BC Hydro’s tiered billing system is currently a topic in the legislature and I am wondering how your three-tiered billing and some of the highest water rates in the region can be justified when the yearly review and master water plan seem to need more funding just to sustain current demand. What is the region planning to do when the population grows?

I read the annual report and the Master Water Plan and am left upset that your conclusions that increased rates caused a reduction in water consumption seemed to have no more support than a correlation and timing. I agree that increased rates will lower use on anything, and a focus on consumption is positive, however the report and the master plan don’t really seem to look longer term.

Reducing water consumption is only one small part of a sustainable plan and the RDNO is over-taxing its population and unfairly putting the burden on larger families in the area. Each quarter is dreaded now as we don’t know what else we can do.

The programs offered are superficial or for publicity. What we need in the face of the RDNO’s water plan is help paying our water bills.

We cannot and should not have to raise rates just to keep the system running as it has been in the past. In fact, many would argue the quality is worse and an apparent oversight in the design of the Duteau Creek facility is now leading to apparent investigations by Interior Health and the commissioning of an ultra-violet filter system which, if planned, should have been included in the cost of the original construction one would think.

David Rice, Vernon