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Woolwich residents face another big hit for water and wastewater usage

Flush with cash or not, Woolwich residents will be paying more every time they push down the lever in the bathroom, as the township is hiking wastewater rates by 6.1 per cent this year.

Refilling the tank will also cost more, though the water rates are increasing by a much smaller 0.5 per cent.

In approving the budgets for water and wastewater at a meeting last week, councillors backed a plan to boost the water rate slightly to $1.73 per cubic metre from $1.72, a 0.51 per cent increase even though the region has increased its bulk water rate by 2.9 per cent.

The rate adjustment will $2.04 per year or $0.34 per bimonthly billing period to the average user’s bill, based on 204 cubic meters annually.

That comes after a 0.85 per cent increase in 2018.

Wastewater charges are on the rise by 6.12 per cent, to $2.85 per cubic meter from $2.69, reflecting a regional price increase of 6.9 per cent, director of finance Richard Petherick told councillors. Last year, the rate increased 7.61 per cent. The rate hike will add about $32.64 a year – $5.44 per bimonthly billing period.

The increases are largely a reflection in price hikes from the Region of Waterloo, which supplies the township with water and runs the sewage treatment plant, said director of finance Richard Petherick.

Bulk water rates account for 69 per cent of Woolwich’s costs, while the region’s portion accounts for 77 per cent of the wastewater budget. Adjustments to the township-controlled parts of the budget mean the increases passed onto customers is lower than the regional hikes, he noted.

“We’re not just passing on regional increases. We don’t do that.”

The region has been steadily boosting prices for years, often at many times the rate of inflation. Such increases have been the norm in recent years, as the region implements the user-pay, full-cost-recovery model for its water and wastewater systems, as mandated by the province.

Water hikes are predicted to be about 2.9 per cent a year from 2020 to 2027. On the wastewater side, the region expects to hit customers with a 4.9 per cent increase next year, and 3.9 per cent annually between through 2027.

Residents can also expect an extra ding on their bills as the township replaces aging water meters. Along with allowing for remote reading of the meters, the new units are expected to be more accurate in measuring water usage.

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