Money not conservation

Tiered water rates are no longer about conservation. They’re about money for added infrastructure.

Tiered water rates are no longer about conservation. They’re about money for added infrastructure the developers need to continue to profit while our small town is swallowed up.

It’s not about conservation because since 2009 Parksville residents use less water than the national average.

The established standard for determining this is litres/capita/day (Lcd), the litres one person uses each day. Using the figures the city uses, the latest national average is 274 Lcd.

In 2009, the city’s metered residential water use, 1,093,977,000 litres, divided by the resident population, 11,577 (Stats Canada), divided by 365 days gives a 258.85 Lcd. That’s 5.5 per cent less than national average. In 2010 we were 3.5 per cent less.  2011 was 12 per cent less.  Since 2009, we’ve conserved better than most of Canada.

Looking at the tier system, how much water does the city allow us before they charge more to “encourage responsible conservation”? Tier one, up to 60 cubic metres, divided by 365 days is 328.77 Lcd. So if you live alone you can use 20 per cent more than the national average. But, since most homes in Parksville have at least two residents, the likely figure is 164.39 Lcd, 40 per cent less than the national average. If you live with two or three people your Lcd is even less, but the tier system doesn’t recognize individual residents because it’s not about conservation. It recognizes homes, not people, and therefore has nothing to do with user pay.

True user pay system is a flat rate per litre, residential and commercial. Pay for what you use, the more you use the more you pay. That’s user pay. Not this smoke and mirrors system where the residents pay for infrastructure the developers need so they can rezone more properties swallowing up Parksville, leaving us with what digestion always leaves.

John Mansell