Residential, Commercial, and Condo metered water rates came into effect January 2015. If you are using water that is unmetered, indoors or outdoors, please contact Works & Utilities at 250-494-0431. All residential, commercial, and condo water must be metered or have arrangements in place. Agriculture rates will be reviewed at a later date.
Council and staff have been reviewing the proposed water meter rates for some time now. The data collected from the readings, and the comments received from our residents, have been taken into consideration to help us determine a fair rate structure. We addressed concerns that rates were too high during the summer months, and that low water users were not given enough incentive to conserve. 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 feel we have found a metering rate system that works for our residents. After much consultation and input, residential/commercial/condo water meter rates went to Council for final adoption in September 2014. Water Meter billing came into effect January 2015.
Metered Water Rates (Effective January 1, 2017)
The new system treats each lot separately and allow is an amount of water based on lot size as well as offering more water usage during the irrigation months.
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.
- Supports Agriculture - Agricultural water rates are currently being reviewed.
Residential & Condo Rate Structure
- Base Fee - $34.35 (receive a 10% discount per month if you pay by the due date) 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 (i.e. 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 $0.37 per cubic metre 10% less with the discount (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 $0.37 per cubic metre (10% less with the discount) for household use and then the variable quantities during the irrigation months are added to this. This is why non-irrigating months (Oct. 29th - Mar 28th) and condos with no land area receive 25 cubic metres at $0.37 per cubic metre ($0.33 with the discount).
- Additional water used over the amount determined to receive the Low Rate will cost $1.42 per cubic metre (10% less with the discount).
Below is a chart that will give you an idea of the amount of cubic metres available per month at the rate of $0.37 per cubic metre (discounted amount if paid by the due date) 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 $0.37 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 $0.37 per cubic metre (see the white area). Condos with no land area are allowed 25 cubic metres per month at the low rate of $0.37 per cubic metre as well. Water used over the allotment amounts will cost $1.42 (10% less with the discount) per cubic metre. To know what you are allowed at 0.37 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.
Click chart below to enlarge.
Commercial Rate Structure
- Base rate of $34.35 per month (10% less with the discount)
- User fee of $0.37 per cubic metre (10% less with the discount if paid on time)
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I think I have a water leak?
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.
There are many website that have great watering tips and water conservation suggestions. The Okanagan Basin Water Board has some great links on its website.
Who do I call if I'm having trouble with my meter or need to have a meter installed?
If your water meter has a leak, if there appears to be damage to the meter, or you have not received a meter yet, please contact our Works and Utilities 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 gather 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.
How do I read the water meter myself?
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.
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.