The new year will see more than 500 agriculture utility customers in the South East Kelowna Irrigation District incorporated within Kelowna’s domestic water system. The shift will change how growers pay for irrigation water.
“The agriculture water rate structure being proposed is a blend of a fixed-fee and escalating tiers that would be predictable and reward water conservation,” says Kelowna utility services manager Kevin Van Vliet. “The new rates will be determined in 2020 and come into effect in 2021, with water rates previously set by SEKID continuing through 2020.”
Participants in a series of workshops that concluded in spring 2018 felt that properties should have farm-class status, as defined by the BC Assessment Authority, in order to qualify for the new agricultural water rate.
“It was noted that SEKID’s system currently offers allocations to all agricultural land holders, regardless of whether agriculture is occurring or not,” says background material the city provided on the new rate.
A set rate would be charged farms for an initial allotment of 6,850 cubic metres per hectare, or an amount equivalent to their previous allotment. Additional amounts would be charged if usage exceeds the allotment by up to 20%; 20% to 50%; and more than 50%.
A consultation is underway to gather feedback on the proposed new rate structure, which was designed with feedback from the public and utility customers on water pricing values, priorities, concerns and impacts.
Open houses will be held regarding the changes on November 26 and November 28, and an online survey is also available for feedback. Details on both are available at [getinvolved.kelowna.ca]. The consultation closes on December 6.