What are your thoughts on pay per use water? (Citizen file)

What you said: Pay for use water a controversial topic

Public works crews have been busy for the last four years installing water meters

Public works crews have been busy for the last four years installing water meters at residences within the City of Duncan, with the long-term goal of moving to a pay per consumption model as opposed to a flat rate system.

The time is drawing near to when the pay per use system will come on line, and social media commenters’ opinions are understandably mixed when it comes to whether or not that’s the best idea.

“When I was on council in Parksville we did this and what happened was people started to conserve their water consumption regarding watering lawns etc.,” wrote Susan Tucker-Powell on the Citizen’s Facebook page. “The idea of charging for water was for our citizens to understand that water is not an unlimited resource. Most people didn’t get charged more than the flat rate except for people who went over the set amount. So it met our purpose — to conserve water.”

Natalie J Penner McCallum agreed.

“It is a good way to get at least some people to think about how much water they use; we were really shocked when we started getting water readings. As long as they put the money to water conservation,” she wrote.

Others had questions.

“Hmm. A few questions: so if this was imposed on every household. Would the working class then have to foot the bill for those on assistance? What about seniors or disabled that are already living on limited incomes,” wrote Tim Genereaux. “Oh yeah…who’s going to pay for the municipality or city to water the countless medians and parks? Higher property taxes?”

“What do our taxes pay for???? It has to stop somewhere…the government just takes and takes…it’s too much,” wrote Teresa Fenwick.

Michelle Banfield believes the government is charging twice for the same service.

“The double dip. There is no way for consumers to monitor their own usage per day. You go on their word only with a yearly printout. Done manually. But it is digitally read. There is no rebate for what you already have paid to the municipality. For being under. Per month there is a cap on what you can use…so you never get to use what you already pd for on your yearly taxes…so over the cap per month you are double charged. If you are under the cap per month then you should be rebated to balance it out. Not an even playing field here,” she wrote.

Mal Joe said it’s “hard to put such a serious subject in a nutshell.”

“Many are aware that our water is used and heavily relied on by the Crofton Catalyst Paper Mill (who seems to have more rights to water from the Cowichan River or something like Nestle Bottle Water Co., and even BC Hydro. It is companies like them that are abusing a privilege for a profit. If anything needs to be imposed then it should be on them and increase fees for licensing, permits, and put meters on their systems. Something needs to be considered so that it forces the Government and Catalyst to think about alternative operating measures,” wrote Joe.

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