Cochrane Town Council is taking action to support residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At yesterday’s meeting, Town Council approved an adjustment to residential water consumption thresholds to mitigate against anticipated increases to residential water consumption.
“With families home all day doing their part to reduce the spread of the virus there will naturally be an increase in water usage,” said Mayor Jeff Genung. “We don’t want residents to see a jump in their water charges. These challenging times are having an unprecedented financial impact on Cochrane residents and Council wants to help where it can.
Effective immediately, the first 20 cubic metres of residential consumption will be charged at $1.22/cubic metre; the tier two rate ($1.72/cubic metre) will apply for residential consumption between 20 and 30 cubic metres.
The first tier residential threshold was lowered to 15 cubic meters at the beginning of 2020 to encourage water conservation at home. This new adjustment up to 20 cubic meters supports residents whose monthly household water use will likely increase as more people are home while provincial public health orders are in place.
This change aligns with the intent of the first tier: water for the basics of life, rather than the water conservation message associated with the second and third tiers.
Town analysis shows that approximately 4,000 residential accounts (about 40%) will have consumption over the 15 cubic meter threshold in April; a typical winter month has 22% of accounts over 15 cubic meters. Changing the first tier to first 20 cubic metres will bring the projected number of residential accounts in the second tier down to approximately 20%, or 2,000.
With most families spending the majority of their time at home, water consumed within the second tier will increase to a level beyond what was anticipated during budget preparation. Lowering the first tier aligns with budget projections and should not have an impact on the Town budget.