The District of Summerland implemented a new water rate model for agricultural users (the cost of water) in 2016. It is important that you understand this rate model as it may affect how you water, how much you water, and how much you pay for water.
Reports provide consumption in imperial gallons, cubic meters, depth in inches and depth in millimetres for agricultural water customers for the following:
- Monthly consumption
- Year-to-date cumulative consumption totals
- Annual consumption thresholds
Properties can be identified on the consumption reports by individual meter number. Please refer to the District's letter dated June 22, 2018, which provides each customer with their meter number.
Why was this change made?
With extensive consultation with agriculturalists, water utility experts and the community, the District of Summerland implemented a tiered rate model for irrigation to encourage responsible water use. It is based on the premise that those users who exceed the threshold will pay an inclining tiered rate.
Who does this affect?
This rate model affects all water utility accounts that were previously on the Irrigation Roll.
When will this affect me?
The new water rates are now in effect. Depending on how much water you use, it may affect your water utility bills. If you have concerns regarding the impact of the new rate model, please contact us for further discussion.
How much will I pay for water?
How much you pay for water depends on how much water you use and how much arable area is on your property.
The new rate model allots water based on arable area on an annual basis, as follows:
||Base Fee (per acre of arable area)
||Threshold (depth of water allotted)
- Cemetery, Park, Playfield
- Golf Course
||800 mm per arable acre
||1,727 mm per arable acre
A depth of 800 mm of water is roughly equal to 3,237 cubic meters, 712,040 imp. gallons, or 2.62 acre feet, per arable acre per year.
If you use more water than the threshold, you will pay an inclining tiered consumption fee for all water in excess:
||Percent Over Threshold
||Rate (per cubic meter)
- Cemetery, Park, Playfield
- Golf Course
91% and over
||All water over threshold
What should I do?
If you remain under the threshold: You will pay only the Base Fee, which is calculated on the arable area of land on your property. There’s nothing for you to do other than keep using water responsibly. Your bill for the season’s water use will be mailed to you at the end of July as usual.
If you go above the threshold: You will pay both the Base Fee and Consumption Fees. The Base Fee will be billed at the end of July as usual, and your Consumption Fees will be billed at the end of each month, beginning at the end of the first month when you exceed the threshold. The more you use above the threshold, the higher the rate will go. Here are some ways you may be able to reduce how much you pay in Consumption Fees:
- Examine your watering practices and irrigation technologies and then modify where possible to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
- Confirm that the arable area shown on the attached statement is correct – if the actual arable area on your property is greater than what the District has on record, your threshold will be incorrectly calculated and you’ll be paying too much in Consumption Fees.
The transition to a rate model which includes an inclining tiered rate may cause concern to some high volume users. The District will work with you to address each of these situations on an individual basis.
Some properties may have more or less arable acres than are currently on record with the District of Summerland. The District will be reviewing its records and will contact all users who may require a change to their arable area stemming from this review.
The District of Summerland will also accept applications for increases in arable area (i.e. new arable land, independent of the review). The property owner will be responsible for all costs related to the installation of new water connections, or upgrades to existing connections including the cost to determine if sufficient water is available at the location if required.
There is also a water utility buy-in fee of $4,047 per arable acre. This fee funds Summerland’s water utility infrastructure.
Where can I learn more about this rate model or correct the District’s records?
You can find out more about this change or correct the District’s records (e.g. update arable acreage) by contacting the Director of Finance, David Svetlichny, at 250-404-4045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accounts identified as likely to greatly exceed the water allotment threshold will be individually contacted by District staff to discuss possible causes and available options to correct or minimize your costs.
How do I read the water meter myself?