Water and sewer rates in Lake Cowichan have decreased, and a new water meter system will help the town keep track of usage, and find damaged and leaky lines, said Mayor Ross Forrest
“Our water and sewer rates this year actually went down. It wasn’t a lot, but it went down $7 or $8, maybe it was $10,” said Forrest. “But, this is the first year we have water meters, and if people go over their allotted usage than they will have to pay extra.”
Through research, the town has decided that each household be allotted 35 cubic meters of water per month. If a household goes over that limit it will be charged per cubic meter it is over, which works out to be about 70 cents (per cubic meter), said Forrest.
“Thirty-five cubic meters is a pretty hefty threshold,” said Forrest. “We’ve had some people that have been over, but right now we’re still at the stage of sending out warnings to people that are over. We are giving them the opportunity to find leaks if they have them or identify what the problem is — we’ve had a pretty good response to that.”
According to a study done by Environment Canada, households with water meters had a drop in average daily water use, from 342 litres per person in 1991 to 274 litres per person in 2009.
“Like any community we’re trying to be a little more conservative with our water,” said Forrest. “We also recognized that it will help us identify leaks that we have in our infrastructure, which were hard to pinpoint before.”
The town has already identified several major leaks now that the meters are in place.
In the future the town would like to introduce small reductions to the amount of water allotted, but those decisions will not be made right away.