Water utility rates are going up by more than $300 a year for some Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO) residents.
Customers on the Dietrich water system, on Star Place above Peachland, will pay $328 extra this year.
Water users in Killiney Beach will need to come up with an extra $100. The last rate review for the RDCO’s six water utilities was done in 2019.
“At that time we projected a modest two per cent increase for inflation over the three-year life of the rates that were established,” explained David Komalke, director of engineering services.
“I guess we all look back and can say that was grossly underestimated as to what inflation was going to be, it has been significantly higher than that.”
Komalke added the district is facing a situation where they are not able to fund the utilities sufficiently to ensure long-term viability. Each system has its own fees and charges bylaw.
He also noted that the White Rock Lake wildfire had a significant impact on Killiney Beach and Valley of the Sun systems, and the RDCO forgave user fees from August 1 to September 30 when residents were evacuated from their homes.
“We’ve lost about $100,000 in revenue,” he said. “We’ve had increased operating costs because of the fire events, we had to do more testing and add more staff time.”
The district lost 30 customers on the Killiney Beach system due to the fire, resulting in an approximate $18,000 per year reduction. Maintenance and operational issues on other systems driven up costs, Komalke added.
Director Wayne Carson said he was not happy about the increase, but saw the need.
“This is a time that they are understandable with what’s happened over the last couple of years here,” he said.
The other four utilities will see lesser increases for 2023. Falcon Ridge and Upper Fintry (Shalal Road/Valley of the Sun) rates are going up by $52, while Sunset Ranch and Westshore Estates will see an increase of $36.
While district staff was not able to provide customers with the exact amount of increases prior to the RDCO board morning on Jan. 12, they were informed through their most recent utility invoice and e-newsletter that increases were likely.