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Small increase expected for CRD water bills

Greater Victoria households should expect to pay an average of $8.60 more next year, or $180.90 for bulk water costs. In 2022, the average household, using 235 cubic metres of water, spent $172.30
web1_sooke-lake-reservoir-sept1-2020
Sooke Lake Reservoir on Sept. 1, 2020. CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT

Property owners in the region will face a small increase in the cost of water in 2023, based on a provisional budget passed Wednesday by the Capital Regional District’s regional water supply commission.

Greater Victoria households should expect to pay an average of $8.60 more next year, or $180.90 for bulk water costs. In 2022, the average household, using 235 cubic metres of water, spent $172.30.

The rise is due to an increase in operating and capital funding that will drive the wholesale water rate up to $0.77 per cubic metre from $0.73 in 2022. The rate was $0.68 in 2019.

The overall budget has increased by $3.38 million to $39.92 million for 2023.

Budget documents indicate water demand across the region continues to increase annually, due to development and growth. As a result, demand is expected to exceed what the commission had budgeted for by 450,000 cubic metres this year.

The region has a number of capital projects planned for 2023, including $17.7 million worth of carry-forward projects like Butchart Dam No. 5, replacing some of the transmission mains and replacing the Goldstream Water Treatment Plant ultraviolet system.

The projects have a total value of $37,623,000.

The CRD has approved a master plan that includes nearly $2 billion in water infrastructure projects over the next 30 years.

The plan guides water-supply planning and includes an infrastructure program to improve the water supply and transmission system and add redundancy to critical components to address hazards and risks.

The 21 projects in the plan include a $1-billion water-filtration plant that could be built by 2037 to address climate-change effects on water supply and demand, anticipated changes in raw water characteristics and in regulations.

According to the CRD, modelling indicates that by 2045, additional water will need to be sourced from the deep northern basin of Sooke Lake Reservoir and the Leech River water supply catchment area.

The $2-billion price tag for the projects would be paid for through water rates with the potential for grant funding.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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