Guelph’s water charges up 50 per cent in six years

Guelph’s water charges up 50 per cent in six years

The front-page headline said water rates in Guelph would increase 10 per cent in 2012 and 1013. Inside, the story continues to reveal that in the past three years, water rates have increased by 10 per cent per year. Who knew?

Guelph Environmental Chief Janet Laird told the Mercury editorial board that there were two factors in play. One was that the consumption of water in the city has dropped thanks to a conservation program designed by her department.  Second was Provincial government mandates to ensure a safe and reliable delivery of potable water.

This is traceable back to 2000 when the Walkerton water supply became infected with e-coli as a result of sloppy handling of run-off by the town’s water supervisors. Seven persons died and many were severely ill as a result.

But why is this still an issue some 11 years later? Is Ms. Laird saying that the city’s water infrastructure and treatment plant have not been brought up to provincial standards? She used that argument coupled with diminished revenue from consumers.

Or is there another more compelling reason for increasing water revenues?

Revenues are down and costs are up. It’s a recipe for raising the rates.

Maybe it’s time to privatize this vital municipal service and stop these exponential increases dictated by the public service.

Gerry Barker
Editor of Guelph Speaks

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