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Turning on your taps in 2024 will be more costly in Yorkton

Hershmiller said comparatively Yorkton rates are relatively lower compared to other Saskatchewan cities.
The 2024 water consumption and sewer rate increase is 4.6 per cent, plus a $3.00/month residential base rate increase. (File Photo)

YORKTON -  Perhaps not surprisingly water and sewer rates are going up again in Yorkton.

The 2024 water consumption and sewer rate increase is 4.6 per cent, plus a $3.00/month residential base rate increase, which equates to an approximate combined increase of 7.61 per cent to a resident or about $5.00/month.

By taking Yorkton’s average of 13 cubic meters (2,860 gallons) per household per month and using this figure, an average home in Yorkton can expect monthly cost of $71.83 compared to $66.75 in 2023.

On average, a residential dwelling may experience an overall increase to their water bill of approximately $5.00/month. Yorkton’s average household water bill, would be approximately $71.83/month or only $2.36 /day for .43m3 (430,000ml, 430 litre or 94 gallons/day).

The increase equates to approximately $500,000 of revenue to be used for water and sewer infrastructure projects, explained Aron Hershmiller – Director of Environmental Services with the city at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

The Base Rate charge includes the cost to replace water meters, water and sewer pipe replacement, water/sewer services, water meter services, water billing, and corporate service expenditures.

The increase which takes effect Jan. 1, 2024, follows three straight years of increases totalling 8.75 per cent.

“With the increase of service connection breaks, and with increasing costs for replacement, it is essential to continue with increases of our base rate,” Hershmiller told Council.

“By increasing the base rate and the water consumption rates for 2024, this added increase of approximately $500,000 as mentioned will directly support the utility in order to be able to continue to improve identified capital water and sewer infrastructure projects.”

Overall Hershmiller explained, “These rate reviews are completed annually and can vary significantly depending on the list of capital projects.”

Some future Capital projects consist of a wastewater plant system renewal, water and sewer pipe replacement, and installation of new distribution pipe along with additional water reservoir storage, water treatment plant upgrades, plus additional water investigation and water tower and water well Improvement projects, he continued.

“The need to replace aging water and sewer infrastructure is apparent, but also constructing new infrastructure for growth, preparedness, and future demands,” said Hershmiller.

“We are in the process of developing definitive long-term plans that result in greater long-term efficiencies with the required upgrades to our Water System Master Plan that dates back to 2004.”

The Water and Sewer underground system is an extensive system made up of different age class, size, and type of piping from cast iron to PVC.

“There is over 300,000 linear meters of water and sewer pipe in the ground with a current replacement price tag of approximately $800 million,” noted Hershmiller.

“With our current budget we are able to replace approximately 500 linear meters of water pipe per year. With that being said, we have approximately 14,000 linear meters of water pipe that is over 75 years old.”

With a replacement program of about 500 m/year it will take nearly 30 years just to replace that infrastructure.

“For 2024, we have budgeted $1,107,330 towards water breaks and $1,209,790 towards water main and sanitary sewer replacement,” explained Hershmiller. “The cost of water line replacement seems expensive, however, the cost to repair leaks are three to five times greater than planned replacement, when calculated on a price per meter basis.

“In addition, with the amount of breaks increasing on an annual basis, this problem isn't going away.”

Over the next 10 years (2023-2032), the City plans to invest more than $120 million dollars to over 30 water and sewer system projects.

Hershmiller said comparatively Yorkton rates are relatively lower compared to other Saskatchewan cities.

“When comparing Yorkton’s proposed base rate of $24.25/month to the other cities, you can see that Yorkton’s rate is significantly lower than the average base rate charge of $47.77/month,” he explained. Yorkton’s usage rate of $3.66 per cubic meter is also below the average of $4.10/per cubic meter when compared with the other communities.