Water is becoming more expensive in West Kelowna.
City council adopted new water rates with the first of four consecutive annual increases taking effect Jan. 1 and with levies being charged quarterly.
Further rate increases will occur on Jan. 1, in 2019, 2020 and 2021. By 2021, all West Kelowna water system ratepayers will be receiving the same quality of water and same level of service, with annual costs for all users estimated at an average of $907, according to the city.
Residents will see the new rates reflected on their April 2018 utility bills. The increases are required to cover the costs of system operations, maintenance and improvements and to ensure the network remains sustainable, said the city. The rates also cover the costs to repay the debts incurred to build both the Powers Creek and Rose Valley water treatment plants.
Users who will benefit from the Rose Valley water treatment plant, with construction to begin later this year, will see increased rates to cover the city’s portion of the $49 million project. The city received a $41 million grant from the federal and provincial governments towards the plant construction.
The city will still need to fund $17 million in plant construction and related capital works ($8 million towards the plant and $9 million for other works). The new plant will eventually provide water to the Rose Valley customers, formerly with the Lakeview, Sunnyside, Pritchard and West Kelowna Estates systems, according to the city.
Users who benefit from the Powers Creek water treatment plant will see increased rates to cover $7 million in improvements related to upland storage and fire protection. This plant serves the Powers Creek water system, formerly the Westbank system, said the city.
Currently, only users of the Powers Creek treatment plant receive water that meets provincial and national requirements. Once it is operational, the Rose Valley treatment plant will also provide water that meets all requirements.