Monday, March 3, 2014

Domestic/agriculture cost sharing or the lack of it.

 Quote from MWP 2012 Technical Memorandum 8, page 3.:

"The 2002 GVW Master Water Plan originally recommended that the domestic and agricultural distribution system be separated over a five year period. System separation would eliminate the need to use more expensive treated water as agricultural water. Once the systems were fully separated, it would also be possible to accurately determine the true cost of operating and maintaining each system individually. Future pricing in both networks were to be based only on their own costs. The 2002 Master Plan recommended that agricultural water pricing remain stable with only consumer price index adjustments to be made over time. Due in part to higher than anticipated capital costs and the lack of grant funding for separation projects, the separation program has been implemented at a much slower rate than originally anticipated and is now being re-evaluated as the preferred long term technical strategy. The agricultural water pricing strategy that is based on year-to-year rate stability (but adjusted to inflation) continues essentially unchanged today since 2002. This version of the Master Water Plan needs to identify a technical and administrative solution that will enable the GVW to provide the most economical system to all users in a manner that is transparent, fair, and equitable."
Determining true costs of the two systems will remain a serious problem. One of the first major issue came up at the last GVAC meeting debating the budget for 2014. One of the items debated was the "Hedgates Dam Improvements" to be financed from current revenues to the tune of $2,000,000. I support agriculture but I believe this cost should not be born in its entirety by the domestic customers.

Domestic customers only use at most 20% of the water originating from Duteau Creek. The dam would need repairs regardless of domestic use. My argument was that agriculture customers should be paying at least half of the $2 million cost.

Something is wrong with this picture: Agriculture's contribution to the 2014 budget is $904,452 yet domestic customers pay the full repair bill for the dam improvements. Am I wrong?



Anonymous said...

Can agricultural users claim their water use as a business expense?

Coldstreamer said...

I assume they can if they produce anything of value.

Anonymous said...

This would be important to find out--domestic water users who cannot write-off their water should not pay more than any businesses who are high volume water users.

FYI: Go to retired journo Harvey Oberfeld's blog to read how taxes and user fees are slamming ordinary people.

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.