Thunder Bay water bills go up as usage goes down

The bill for turning on a water tap in Thunder Bay will keep rising for years to come.

Thunder Bay wrestles with paying for utility in light of lower demand for water

The bill for turning on a water tap in Thunder Bay will keep rising for years to come.

Low-flush toilets and other water conservation measures — along with less use by industry — means Thunder Bay collects less revenue from water bills. The manager of the city’s environment division said water consumption is still dropping, so to keep paying for the infrastructure, water rates will jump by another six percent next year, and won't stop there.

A report prepared for Thunder Bay city council outlines why water rates will increase for at least four years straight. Council will go over the report at a meeting next week.

“We need to make sure that we're funding the full cost of operating and maintaining the system,” Kerri Marshall said. “And then … what's being proposed is [an annual] three per cent increase in rates.”

Marshall said water usage is projected to continue to fall for about four years. Water bills will go in the opposite direction until then — or until revenue matches expenses.

However, Marshall still encourages conservation.

"It will, in the long run, offset expansions to the facilities … to increase our production capabilities,” Mashall added. “So, it does have benefits in a number of areas."

City councillors will hear next week about the financial plan for the water system when it looks over a report compiled by the city’s environment division.

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