Kelowna city council has approved a plan to increase water rates charged by the City of Kelowna water utility by two per cent this year and another two per cent in 2018. And, it’s also hiking the fee it charges residents for waste water treatment by two per cent this year and next as well.
The increases were approved Monday and will bring the cost of water for a typical family, using 41 cubic metres, to $43.76 per month.
According to a city staff report, that compares with $46.35 in West Kelowna for the same amount of water used per month, $71.85 in Vernon, $56.03 in Penticton and $31.58 in Kamloops.
In addition to the other increase in both 2017 and 2018 , the city will also increase its contribution to the its water quality enhancement reserve fund by two per cent hikes this year and next to help pay for the water utility’s operation, maintenance, infrastructure renewal and capital improvements.
The increases are slated to come into effect in May.
The city utility provides water to about half the households in the city, with the rest being supplied by other water utilities.
The city is trying to have one interconnected water distribution system serve the entire city but in the past, the irrigation districts that operate the other water utilities have balked at the suggestion.
But the terms of reference have now been agreed to in order to try and put together for a cohesive water plan for the entire city and negotiations for such a plan are ongoing. No details, however, are being divulged by any of the sides or the provincial government at this time.
But Mayor Colin Basran said Monday a value planning exercise, required by Victoria in order for the application for infrastucture grants for local irrigation districts, should be completed in the next few weeks and would be made public later this year.