The District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada
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District of Summerland

    Residential/Commercial/Condo
    Water Meters


    Proposed Rates for Water Meters

Thank you to everyone who attended the Open House on November 14th.  Close to 100 people were present and half of those people wrote or gave comments.  The water meter proposed rates will go to Council soon and if Council agrees, we will continue to move forward, adopt the bylaw, continue informational statements for one more full year, get the computer program in place, work out any bugs and possibly have rates start effective January 1, 2015.

A revised draft water meter rate schedule for residential, condo and commercial meter users has been approved and Information Statements will be sent out so residents can have a chance to see what they think of the proposed rates.  Input received from residents was taken into consideration and a new unique system was developed by combining points from the previously proposed systems. The new system combines the options previously offered by treating each lot separately and allowing an amount of water based on lot size as well as offering more water usage during the irrigation months.

Agricultural rates will be reviewed once residential/commercial/condo rates have been determined.

The new proposed rates achieve the goals the District of Summerland has been trying to achieve from the beginning.

  • Revenue Neutral - fees are kept as close as possible to the current flat rate system.  The District must still collect $1.9 million to cover costs to maintain and operate the water system.

  • Encourages Responsible Water Use - residents are allotted a certain amount of water that should be sufficient for their property.  Use over that amount will cost more per cubic metre.

  • Create a User Pay System - residents pay for what they use.

  • Keep Summerland Green - the water allotments are based on watering requirements for plant growth in Summerland and should be able to keep Summerland nice and green.

  • Support Agriculture -Agricultural rates and rates for properties .5 - 2 acres will be reviewed after residential/condo/commercial rates have been established. 

The proposed draft rate system is as follows:

        Residential Rate Structure

  • Base fee - $24 per month applies to every water meter and assists in covering infrastructure necessary so that water is available to each user. This fee applies year round regardless of use or water turn off (ie if you go away for the winter months).  This fee does not include any usage.

  •  Costs for Water - Variable quantities of water are available at 0.26 per cubic metre (considered the low rate) .  The amount of water available at the low rate changes month to month dependent on scientific requirements for plant growth in Summerland and is tailored to each land parcel based on lot area . The calculation is based on how much water is necessary to cover 70% of your lot size(30% is not included to allow for your house, driveway, garage, patio etc.).   In the hotter months, much more water is allowed for lawn and garden watering.  Each bill is allowed 25 cubic metres per month at 0.26 per cubic metre for household use and then the variable quantities during the irrigation months are added to this. This is why non-irrigating months (Oct. 16 - April 15) and condos with no land area receive 25 cubic metres at 0.26 per cubic metre.

  • Additional water used over the amount determined to receive the low rate will cost $1.00 per cubic metre.

Readings are done on the 15th of each month.

Below is a chart  that will give you an idea of the amount of cubic metres available per month at the rate of 0.26 per cubic metre based on your lot size.  Monthly amounts vary and are dependent on YOUR lot size. 

How to read the chart below:  First find your lot area (in orange).   Under the month (green) blue shows the amount of irrigation water in millimetres (mm)that can cover 70% of your property for that month.  The table in white converts these millimetres (mm) into cubic metres and adds 25 cubic metres for household use and shows the total cubic metres you are allowed in that month at the $0.26 per cubic metre. Although October 16 - April 15 (considered non-irrigation months) shows in blue 0 mm allowed for irrigation, you are still allowed 25 cubic metres per month (for household use) at the less expensive rate of 0.26 per cubic metre (see the white area).    Condos with no land area are allowed 25 cubic metres per month at the low rate of 0.26 per cubic metre as well.    Water used over the allotment amounts will cost $1.00 per cubic metre. To know what you are allowed at 0.26 per cubic metre, just find your lot size and go across in the white table to see how many cubic metres you are allowed for each month.

 
Water Available at 0.26 per cubic metre (m³) for Various Lot Sizes
Jan 16 - Feb 15 Feb 16 - Mar 15 Mar 16 - Apr 15 Apr 16 - May 15 May 16 - Jun 15 Jun 16 - Jul 15 Jul 16 - Aug 15 Aug 16 - Sep 15 Sep 16 - Oct 15 Oct 16 - Nov 15 Nov 16 - Dec 15 Dec 16 - Jan 15
Irrigation allowed in mm 0 0 0 90 125 170 185 140 90 0 0 0
Lot Area in Acres Total Volume of Water Available in Cubic Meters at $0. 26 per cubic metre (m³)
0 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
0.1 25 25 25 50 60 73 77 65 50 25 25 25
0.2 25 25 25 76 96 121 130 104 76 25 25 25
0.25 25 25 25 89 114 145 156 124 89 25 25 25
0.3 25 25 25 101 131 169 182 144 101 25 25 25
0.35 25 25 25 114 149 194 208 164 114 25 25 25
0.4 25 25 25 127 167 218 235 184 127 25 25 25
0.45 25 25 25 140 184 242 261 203 140 25 25 25
0.5 25 25 25 152 202 266 287 223 152 25 25 25
0.6 25 25 25 178 237 314 339 263 178 25 25 25
0.7 25 25 25 203 273 362 392 303 203 25 25 25
0.8 25 25 25 229 308 410 444 342 229 25 25 25
0.9 25 25 25 254 344 458 497 382 254 25 25 25
1 25 25 25 280 379 507 549 422 280 25 25 25
 
   

When comparing rates to your current flat rate system, please keep in mind that you need to compare rates based on the entire year.  With water meters, bills are higher during the irrigating months when more water is being used.  The non-irrigating months should have a lower amount owing.  Under the current flat rate system, residential users pay $32.24 with the discount for a total of $386.88 while condos pay $24.15 per month for a yearly total of $289.80. 

      Commercial Rate Structure

  • Base rate of $24 per month

  • User fee of 0.26 per cubic metre

Informational (mock) statements will be sent out until the fall (mailed out the end of June,  August and October) so residents will have a chance to see how this rate structure will affect them. Statements received in June will include 3 readings from April 16 - June 15. The August statement will include 2 months from June 16 - August 15 and the final statement will consist of 2 readings covering August 16 - October 15. Water Meter Information Statements will give residential customers a chance to see what their costs will be, compare charges, and make some water saving adjustments if necessary. This will also be an opportunity to check for any problems or leaks that you may not have been aware of.   Residents will continue to receive their regular utility bills at the beginning of each month which are due and payable by the due date.

An open house to receive community comments on the new draft rates will be held THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH AT THE IOOF HALL MAIN ST. FROM 4PM - 7PM.

After community input, council will determine if these metered water rates are acceptable and will be in place for 2014. Please write and let us know what you think about the new proposed rates after you have had a chance to review them or email comments to info@summerland.ca . If you have any questions regarding the information bill, please do not hesitate to call Municipal Hall at 250-494-6451.

Water Leaks - One of the advantages of implementing water meters is the ability to be able to detect leaks. Leaks can significantly increase your water bill so being aware of leaks not only will help you to save money but it also helps to conserve water.  If your property has been identified as possibly having a leak it will be stated in red at the bottom of the Information Statement being sent out.  It means our water meter readings indicate that there is night and day usage based on measurements taken every 15 minutes.  Since most people are not using water continually during the night, this type of reading could mean that you have a leak in your water system. We have no way of knowing exactly what is leaking.  Leaks are typically a leaky toilet, an inside or outside tap that is dripping or a leak in your irrigation system.  If you think you have found and fixed the problem, we can check our records after the next monthly reading and let you know if you are still showing on the leak list.Metered water rates will not take effect until at least 2014, so now is a good time to investigate any potential leaks in your system.

There are many great website that have great watering tips and water conservation suggetions. The Okanagan Basin Water Board has some great links available http://www.obwb.ca/waterconservationtools/.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Thanks to everyone that attended the March 14th Water Meter Open House.  Your input is greatly appreciated!  Click here for the Survey that was at the Open House.  You have until March 29th to complete it.  We will review the surveys and advise our findings as soon as we can.  Stay tuned!

 

WE WANT TO GET IT RIGHT WITH YOUR HELP

Council and staff have been reviewing the proposed water meter rates.  The data collected from the readings, and the comments received from our residents, are being taken into consideration to help us determine a fair rate structure. We are addressing concerns that rates were too high during the summer months, and that low water users were not given enough incentive to conserve.  Early in 2013 we will give residents the chance to provide input on a few different options of metered rate structures.  Open houses will be held to gather input and provide information.  Residents will continue to be informed through our website, the newsletter, and at Municipal Hall.  Informational billing statements will recommence in the spring with the new metered rate structure.  Metered rates will not come into effect until 2014.  Our goal is to encourage responsible water use, bill on a user-pay system, while at the same time provide a rate structure that is affordable for residents to keep their lawns green. With all that said, the District needs to collect $1.9 million from our residential users to provide quality drinking water. Metering is very complex; however, with your help, we can find a metering rate system that works for our residents. 

  (Agricultural Water Meter information will be announced at a later date).

  Water Meter Information Statements will give residential customers a chance to see what their costs will be, compare charges, and make some water saving adjustments if necessary. This will also be an opportunity to check for any problems or leaks that you may not have been aware of.  You will receive this informational statement until the end of the year to provide you with figures at various seasons.  Customers will continue to receive the regular utility bill that is due and payable each month as usual.  In January 2014, the proposed rates will be adopted and put into effect providing they prove that the total revenue collected for the Water Utility remains about the same. 

 

�         When is the District going to start billing for water based on water meter readings?

                Council is in the process of establishing the rates for residential metered water. These rates will not come into effect until January 2014.  Council has established proposed rates in order to send out this water usage information to our customers.  Council will be reviewing these proposed rates and adjusting them to ensure that metered rates provide approximately the same revenue for the Water Utility as that     provided prior to the installation of meters.  Call Municipal Hall at 250 494-6451 for any cost inquiries.

�         What are the metered water charges going to be?

        Once Council has received information on how much revenue the proposed rates (as reflected on the r everse of this letter) provide, along with any problems or inequities in the proposed rates, Council will adjust the rates accordingly before they adopt the new rates for implementation in January 2014.

�         How often will the District be billing me for metered water?

        Once the rates are adopted (possibly January 2014) domestic water meter billings (does not include   Agricultural blue box water meters) will continue to be billed once per month, and will be included   with   your utility bill as they are now.

�         Who do we call if we are having trouble with our meter or need to have a meter installed?

        If your water meter has a leak, or there appears to be damage to the meter, or you have not received a meter yet, contact our Engineering and Public Works Office at 250-494-0431.

�         How does the District read my meter?

There is no need for the District to enter your home to read the water meter. District staff gathers meter readings with an electronic meter reader that is driven down Summerland streets.   They then download the information to our computer system which then produces your monthly utility bill.

Your meter is equipped with a small solar cell, which supplies power for the panel. If the panel is grey, you will need to shine a flashlight on the meter and within a few seconds you will see some numbers appear. Write down the 9 digits. There is a decimal between the 5th and the 6th digit.  The numbers before the decimal indicate cubic metres. 

Water meter
Shine your flashlight over the small flashlight symbol above
the number and then read the number to get your water meter reading

 

For example:  If your number is 00519.0121 it would mean you have used 519 cubic metres since the meter was installed.  In order to know how many cubic metres you use each month, you will need to know your last month�s reading and subtract it from the current month�s accumulating total.

Your meter measures water in cubic meters. One cubic meter is 1000 litres or about 220 imperial gallons.