Intervalley Water holds the line on Saskwater rate hike

Intervalley Water Incorporated (IWI) subscribers will be getting a break on water rates this year.
The rural water utility, which currently has 374 subscribers receiving potable water through pipelines in the RM of Corman Park and the RM of Laird, is not passing on a 9.25 per cent rate hike charged by its supplier, SaskWater. The rate increase is scheduled to come into effect in May, 2018.
The news was unveiled at the IWI annual general meeting on Wednesday, March 21.
IWI Chair Anthony Nienhuis said the IWI has a surplus of over $200,000 from operations over the past year. The IWI board felt that part of that surplus should be used to absorb the water rate increase, rather than pass it on to subscribers.
“We’ve had several discussions as a board to try and determine the right amount of surplus to retain for reserves,” said Nienhuis. “We want to have enough to cover all expected, and unexpected costs.”
IWI Finance Director Geoff Booth said besides relatively new infrastructure, the biggest asset the IWI has right now is the absence of debt.
“We are fortunate we have zero debt,” said Booth. “For a public water utility, that’s almost unheard of. Because we have relatively new infrastructure, we don’t anticipate any major breakdowns anytime soon, and we can set money aside for eventual replacement of pipelines, pumphouses and other things.
“We are trying to be very fiscally responsible so we don’t get into trouble.”
Nienhuis noted that water sales last year were up $100,000 over the previous year, due to increased usage by major customers, as well as the addition of 13 new subscribers.
Nienhuis noted that the IWI will have water flowing to subscribers in Blumenheim later this year. There have been some delays due to unforeseen circumstances, he said.
The water utility has also been working with Kiewit Construction, the contractor overseeing the new Warman and Martensville overpasses, throughout the past year to ensure relocation of underground lines goes smoothly.
The IWI was in discussions with residents of the hamlet of Cathedral Bluffs to supply water, but in the end it was deemed not feasible for a variety of reasons, noted Nienhuis. The hamlet of Cathedral Bluffs will be building its own water treatment plant to supply its residents with potable water.