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Rates are increasing to reflect a full cost recovery utility rate model, redistributing the responsibility from the taxpayer to the user. This allows for a user-pay system and ensures the long-term sustainability of our water and wastewater systems.
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Fixed fees will ultimately be directed toward infrastructure investment such as line and facility upgrades and replacement, which is a long-term and ongoing expense category.
Consumption fees are generally directed toward the ongoing costs of operating the water and wastewater systems.
The proposed rates for 2025 were determined based on a full cost recovery methodology. This means that all the costs involved in operating the water system are included and charged to users of the system. Currently, the overrun in costs is applied to property taxation and/or taken from stabilization reserves. Under full cost recovery, all costs are charged to the consumers of the utilities.
Consumption Rates are calculated as follows:
Water Consumption Rate per m3 = SRRUC Requisition + Line Costs + Contracted Services 12-month Total Water Billed by Town m3
Wastewater Consumption Rate per m3 = WRSSC Requisition + Line Costs + Contracted Services 12-month Total Water Billed by Town m3
The impact varies based on your previous rates, as outlined in our rate comparison tables.
The proposed changes will see rates aligned between the two former towns in 2024.
In 2025, the rates for consumption charges will increase based on full cost recovery for the services.
In subsequent years, rates will be reviewed annually to ensure they keep pace with operational costs and infrastructure replacement needs.
Following a full cost recovery model means that all the costs involved in operating the water system are included and charged to users of the system based on their consumption. This model allows for accurate budgeting and ensures utilities costs remain separate from taxation.
A single (non-tiered) consumption rate simplifies the rate structure and ensures fairness without penalizing any particular group, such as large households. Billing is based on actual usage, and the rate is equal for all users.
Fixed rates are based on meter size, which appropriately charges the users that put the most demand on our water and wastewater systems. Many commercial / institutional users will pay higher fixed rates. Consumption rates are the same for every user. Please see the rate and billing comparison charts for non-residential users below:
Residential single-family homes have 5/8” meters and are charged at the lowest fixed rate. For non-residential properties, please contact the utilities department.
Water loss in the context of leaks and ruptures, as well as issues with water meters not accurately tracking consumption, can have a significant impact on a town's water management and finances. Leaks can happen in mains, pipes, joints, valves, and other infrastructure components, while ruptures are more severe breaches in the system, often causing a sudden and substantial loss of water. These issues can be due to various factors, such as aging infrastructure, extreme weather conditions, or improper maintenance.
Inaccurate water meters can also contribute to water loss. Water meters are used to measure the amount of water consumed by customers. When meters malfunction or become inaccurate over time, it can lead to underreporting of water usage. This means that customers may not be billed correctly for their water consumption, and the town may lose revenue.
In Diamond Valley, the town is billed by an entity known as SRRUC for all water that passes through the system. However, the town does not collect water from any water losses, meaning they are responsible for paying for the water that is lost due to leaks and other issues. This can result in financial losses for the town.
The utilities department has taken significant steps to address water loss and improve water conservation and efficiency. This includes efforts to identify and fix water leaks, repair water valves and hydrants, and optimize wastewater management practices. These actions are crucial in reducing water loss and mitigating the financial impact on the town.
A report from July 2023 mentions that Diamond Valley saw a remarkable reduction of approximately 78,000 cubic meters in water loss over a span of just five months, from February to June 2023. This reduction represents a significant 17% decrease in water losses. This is a positive outcome and reflects the success of the efforts made by the utilities department in addressing water loss issues.
Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation (SRRUC) is a partnership between the Town of Diamond Valley, the M.D. of Foothills and the Village of Longview. SRRUC has been operating since 2016 and was created to replace the Quad Regional Water Partnership (QRWP). The municipally-owned utility corporation operates the supply, treatment, and transmission of wholesale potable water to its customers - member municipalities. For more information related to SRRUC, please visit srruc.ca.
The Westend Regional Sewage Services Commission (WRRSC) was established in 1994 by Regulation of the Government of Alberta to operate the wastewater treatment facilities for the Towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley..
WRSSC is composed of three (3) members of Council from the Town of Diamond Valley and two (2) members at large.
The Westend facilities are composed of the Turner Valley lift station, equipment in the Black Diamond lift station, the sewage lagoons, the blower building, the transfer station and the approximately 180 acres of property on which they sit in Black Diamond.
The Commission is funded through requisitions to the Town of Diamond Valley. The Commission's expenses include utility costs, operator costs, maintenance and repair costs, administrative costs and reserves.
The Commission contracts the operation of its facilities through the Diamond Valley Public Works department, and administration services through the Town of Diamond Valley.