Niagara's Water Rates
Niagara Region is responsible for the operation of water and sewer systems in Niagara.
The municipalities buy the treated water from the Region and resell it to residents. The Region sells water to the municipalities at a rate of 25 per cent for fixed cost and 75 per cent based on projected usage.
Niagara's water rates billing model
- Niagara Region: The Region acts like a wholesaler who sells a product (water) to the retailer - your municipality. Niagara residents don't get a bill directly from the Region for their water.
- Municipality: Municipalities purchase the water at a wholesale rate from the Region and then resell it to its residents. Billing is handled by your local area municipality and includes fees that cover costs related to local water delivery.
- Water bill: Residents get a bill which pays for the fixed costs associated with water and wastewater, as well as usage fees (consumption). Your bill is paid directly to your municipality.
Consumption versus increases in cost per unit
The cost to operate the Region's water system is 90 per cent fixed.
It's like renting a car for a day; a $100 rental fee is charged to you regardless of how much gas you use or how many kilometres you drive.
In the case of water rates, costs for infrastructure like water and sewage treatment plants are similar to the car rental fee - they need to be covered regardless of how much they are used.
Due to the way the Region covers its costs, the decrease in consumption (from conservation efforts or rainy summers) means the amount of money charged per litre has to increase to cover the fixed costs. To recoup these costs, the water rate increases.