Water/wastewater rates on the rise

At their meeting on Jan. 29, Markham council approved a public meeting to give residents a chance to learn about and have their say in regard to water and wastewater rates.

The cost of the service is set to go up more than 32 cents ($0.3238) per cubic metre. Based on an average household water consumption of 218 cubic metres per year, the price increase will add about $71 to an average total annual household bill.

Markham does not own or operate a water filtration or wastewater treatment plant but they do own and operate the water distribution and wastewater collection systems. Water supply and wastewater treatment is purchased from York Region, which, in turn, buys water from the City of Toronto and Region of Peel.

Markham’s environment services department provides water service to more than 82,000 residential and ICI (institutional, commercial and industrial) customers with an annual consumption of more than 29 million cubic metres.

Notably, for every 1,000 litres of water that Markham buys from the region, it is budgeted to sell only 890 litres. The unsold water is known as non-revenue water (NRW). It’s water that’s used but not billed to the customer. The most frequent occurrences of NRW are through system leakage, water main breaks, metering inaccuracies, system flushing to maintain water quality and other uses such as fire fighting.

The public meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the council chamber at the Civic Centre. Public feedback along with the proposed increase will be considered by council at their Feb. 26 meeting. If approved, the new rate will be effective as of April 1.

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