Saint John’s Watergate


I took the time to email all members of Common Council with the question:

“Is there any reason that those currently without water meters shouldn’t be given an opportunity to have a water meter installed at their own expense in an effort to monitor and /or control water consumption?  
I would appreciate your opinion or comments”.   
The basis for the question was born out a the following extract from an article I wrote a week or so ago.
Why in the name of common sense and fairness  should a a little old lady living alone in a wartime bungalow in the North End with her cat named Fluffy pay the same water and sewage fee as a family of 5,6,or 7 living in a Millidgeville McMansion complete with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi? Excuse the expression but the little old lady is getting “hosed”.
I received 8 responses that reflect that it’s not fair for a single senior on a pension living in postage stamp bungalow to have the same water bill as a family of 5 living in a house with 3 bathrooms, with a 1/2 acre lawn to water, 3 cars to wash and a pool in the back yard while 3 members of Common Council lacked the courage to respond. (John Oliver would have some fun with this gross example of an exploited senior getting screwed by the system) My example is hypothetical but you get the point….it isn’t a fair and equitable situation. No matter how you want to spin it the senior citizen is getting royally hosed by subsidizing the water glutton.
Did you notice when you buy gas you pay so much per litre and the more gas you buy the more you pay and a percentage of the total price is in the form of taxes that goes towards building and maintaining roads? Have you noticed that your electric bill is the sum of the basic monthly charge plus the charge for kilowatts consumed? The same goes for oil consumption as well as natural gas consumption.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone that if you make $100,000 a year you are going to pay a lot more income tax than someone that makes $20,000 a year. As well if you live in a house assessed at $250,000 you are going to pay a lot more in property tax than someone living in a house assessed at $50,000.
So what’s the point? The point is we live in a world where as consumers we pay based on either the “ability to pay” or we pay based on “consumption”.  As for water the trend in Canada have been a move towards water metering. Survey indicate that customers that pay for water through volumetric rates use considerably less water per capita than those subject to flat rates. Volumetric rates has been rising, indicating a move towards conservation-oriented water pricing in Canadian municipalities. (source Municipal Water Pricing Report)
“Most Water Smart communities are building their capacity to effectively manage and reduce water demand. Community actions, which may not yet be reflected in gross annual supply figures, are primarily taking the form of water data acquisition improvements, infrastructure repair and replacement, and improvements in distribution system operations and maintenance. Some utilities are choosing to install water meters on their systems in an attempt to better understand their community’s usage profile. These investments in our region’s water systems are expected to result in substantial water savings in future years” (Source Trend Analysis: Water Consumption Fall 2015)
If this Council can’t at the very least give residents the option of installing water meters at their own expense how will they find the common sense and courage to deal with the real thorny issues?
Think about it.