Warman waterworks building

The cost of water for homes and businesses in Warman and Martensville is going up this year as a result of rate increases by SaskWater.

SaskWater is the provincial crown corporation that distributes potable treated water from the City of Saskatoon, via pipeline, to several communities and rural water utilities in the region.

Martensville City Council is slated to vote on amending its Water and Wastewater Bylaw at a council meeting on Tuesday, February 20. The amendment would increase the current water rate from $4.63 per cubic meter to $4.88 per cubic meter.

According to a report from the city administration to the February 13 Martensville City Council committee of the whole meeting, the price hike will mean that the average household using 19 cubic meters per month will see an estimated increase of $4.75 per month, or $57 per year.

Martensville also has a flat rate minimum charge for water of $12.50 per month.

Martensville received notice in September, 2023 from SaskWater that the ‘reseller’ rate would increase 5.5% in January 2024. SaskWater is also expected to raise ‘reseller’ water rates for the City of Martensville by 5.5% again in January, 2025. The city will be passing on the increases to consumers.

The SaskWater ‘reseller’ rate increase is also impacting the City of Warman, which will increase its residential and business water rates by “around 5%” in a few weeks, according to a report presented by the city administration to the Warman City Council committee of the whole meeting on Monday, February 12. City Council will vote on amending its Water and Utility Rates bylaw at a regular council meeting on Monday, February 26. The higher rates for consumers reflects the higher rate paid by the city to SaskWater. A similar increase by SaskWater is expected to take effect in 2025.

The new rates will see the minimum charge rise from $48.26 to $50.66. The minimum charge applies to 1,750 gallons or less. The rate above  1,750 gallons increases from $27.58 to $28.95 per 1,000 gallons, effective April 1, 2024.

In the administration’s report to the February 12 Warman council meeting, it was noted that the the city’s cost of providing water and sewer services to the community “doesn’t just end with the purchase of the water.”

The city also “provides infrastructure to take that water from the reservoir to residents’ homes, provide hydrants, valves, meters, maintain the reservoir, flush the system, and test the water.”

There is also the cost of highly-qualified and trained labour to maintain the systems and ensure the safety of the water reaching residents’ homes.

The report by the Warman city administration concludes that the utility department operates as much as possible on a “self-sufficient” basis.

“However, even considering the profits the department sees every year being transferred to the utility reserve, this doesn’t amount to enough to sufficiently support the capital needs of the department,” stated the report. “Hence, the transfers required from taxation and other levels of government funding to support large capital projects such as the lagoon and the lift stations.”