Abbotsford residents will be paying more for their water during summer months, depending on use.
Council approved a seasonal water rate system, increasing the price of during peak months.
According to city statistics, under the new rate system, the average Abbotsford home (single-family with 3.2 people) will pay about $375 a year for water. The alternative was a flat rate (non-tiered system) of $1.15 per cubic metre, which would have seen the average home pay $376.
The current $1.02 rate has an annual home average of $333.
Under the new system, from November to April, homeowners will pay $1.13 per cubic metre (1,000 litres) of water, no matter how much they use.
However, from May to October, only the first 60 cubic metres used (over a two-month period) is $1.13 per cubic metre. From 60 to 90 cubic metres consumed, the price rises to $1.43, and for any amount over 90 cubic metres, the cost will be $2.26.
Coun. John Smith was adamantly opposed to the idea, saying higher rates for water used in the summer is unfair to people who live on acreage, have vegetable gardens or large families.
He asked council to wait a year and allow the new radio water metres to provide more information on individual water use.
Smith said he doesn’t think the city has enough data to properly establish the rates.
Mayor George Peary responded by citing a neighbour as an example, saying all summer long the person washed his car and his boat.
“If he’s going to do it, he should pay for the privilege.”
The tiered system applies to residential users only.
Commercial, industrial, institutional and farm water rates have all been increased by 12.7 per cent.
All rates go into affect on July 1, 2011.
About 10 million litres of water go unbilled daily, due to leaks, firefighting efforts and hydrant flushing.