Water rate hike doesn’t add up

Basic arithmetic proves conclusively that the proposed new water fee structure recommended by GVAC penalizes most those who do their utmost to conserve water. Often, these are people on low-wage or limited-pension incomes who least can afford an increase.

GVAC proposes to sock the heftiest water rate increases to people who do not water lawns, wash cars or flush after every use and who minimize water used for washing clothes, dishes and themselves. Incredible as it seems, GVAC proposes the best water savers suffer the highest water rate increases. Duh!

The amount of water included in the quarterly base fee is proposed to be cut in half from 20 to 10 cubic metres per quarter. As a result, people who cut back water usage substantially to save both water and dollars (think a single senior or young adult renter) so they could make do with the 20 cubic metres included in the old base rate will see an increase from $50.17 per quarter to $74.

That works out to a 48 per cent increase for our most frugal water users!

It is possible to survive on only 10 cubic metres per quarter by flushing only when absolutely necessary and by reducing clothes washing and bathing to a minimum. That would result in a savings of $7.80 under the proposed new water rates and reduce the increase to only 32 per cent… but… that extra saving would involve a drop in one’s quality of life and probably comes with some health risks.

Those who make do with only 40 cubic metres of water per quarter are not hit as hard. Their water bill will only increase by 31 per cent. It helps if you are a bit of a water hog and splurge by using 100 cubic metres per quarter. You get hit with a paltry increase of only 22 per cent.

Your old water bill would go from a bit less than $500 per year to a bit more than $600.

Of course, if you use even more than 100 cubic metres per quarter then your bill will be closer to the 20 per cent overall increase touted by the water gurus at GVAC.

I urge you to write a letter, make a phone call or collar a politician or water board official eye ball to eye ball. Maybe we need to hire someone who knows how to manage costs and keep them within the bounds of our ability to pay. Sticking our most needy with water rate increases upwards of 50 per cent is not acceptable.

Nor is letting non-food producers have the benefit of low agricultural water rates…they should be limited to food producers alone, shouldn’t they?

Jim Bodkin




Vernon Morning Star