How should Kelowna charge new agriculture customers for water?

That’s the question the city is looking to answer with a new survey as it plans to absorb SEKID

Kelowna residents are being invited to share their thoughts about possible water rate designs for agriculture water use in south east Kelowna by completing a survey before Dec. 10.

With the addition of more than 500 agriculture customers planned to transition into the city’s water utility in 2020 with the completion of the first phase of the Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan, a review of agriculture irrigation rate designs is necessary to ensure a fair structure that encourages conservation and supports farming operations, says the city.

“This survey is the first step in the public engagement process and provides an opportunity for current, future and even potential customers of the city to weigh in on the discussion about water service,” said Kevin Van Vliet, Kelowna’s utility services manager.

“Ensuring an adequate, affordable supply of water for agriculture is a challenge that needs the support of the entire community.”

Rate designs can range from pay-per-use—as the city’s current agricultural class customers do—to the South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District model, which charges a fixed fee per acre of land that has been allocated water. Or it could be options that combine a fixed component with a variable component based on water use, such as the system used for City of Kelowna residential and commercial customer classes, or use increasing prices for increased use, as in Kelowna and in Southeast Kelowna Irrigation District.

Learn more about Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan – Phase 1 and sign up for email updates at kelowna.ca/water.

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