The Regional District of Nanaimo has revised its variable water rate structure as a way to foster more water conservation.
The RDN board adopted staff recommendation to amend the bylaw from the six-step rate structure to a new three-step rate structure.
The goal is to motivate users, particularly those who go over the average daily consumption, to conserve water and also to generate a larger share of the water system’s total revenue.
The new consumption steps and rates were based on individual water consumption in 2020. The year 2021 was not applied due to the impact COVID-19 pandemic and the heat wave that affected the region.
Manager of water services Murray Walters said the new structure will increase revenue while decreasing the user rate by up to 14 per cent for those who are already making an effort to conserve water.
The current minimum daily rate is $0.37 and if residents use up to 0.7 cubic meters the amount increases to $1.14 and up to $3.93 if they go over 3.50 m3.
The new rate, which takes effect next year, will see the minimum rate increase to $0.50. And if the water consumption is 0.70 m3 the rate is $1, from 0.71 to 2 m3 the rate goes up to $2, and over 2.01 m3 the rate will be $4.
High-water users are going to pay more. Walters indicated the increased $4 rate will have a big impact on users’ pocket books.
“There’s only five per cent of our customers in our electoral areas fall into that category,” said Walters. “So we thought that was enough of a hit for that small group to try and motivate them to use less water.”