St. Catharines, ON – On February 27, 2023, Council approved rates for water-wastewater services in its 2023 water and wastewater budget. The new rates, represent a $84.58 increase over the year for the average ratepayer – or the equivalent of less than a quarter a day. The increase comes as Niagara Region continues to increase its water and wastewater rates annually to ensure program sustainability (the Region controls about 45 per cent of water expenditures and 72 per cent of wastewater expenditures), resulting in increased costs charged to the City for both the purchase of water and treatment of wastewater.

The City also continues to focus on reducing its infrastructure deficit with critical investments in infrastructure. This includes watermain and sanitary sewer replacements and investments to ensure the system is more resilient and better able to handle climate change and extreme weather. The City is also addressing 70 new provincial regulatory requirements for wastewater and stormwater systems.

Between replacement of City and Region watermains and sanitary sewers, the City is contributing more than $14.8 million to water and wastewater capital infrastructure in 2023 – with $11.6 million to be funded through the City’s water and wastewater budget.

At the same time residents in St. Catharines will continue to enjoy some of the lowest water-wastewater rates in Niagara. Based on their 2022 approved rates, only Pelham and Niagara Falls charged less for water.

“One of the City’s core responsibilities is providing safe, clean and affordable drinking water when our residents turn on the taps. They can do that knowing we’re also enjoying one of the lowest water-wastewater rates in Niagara,” said Mayor Mat Siscoe. “As we look forward, however, we need to ensure we’re investing in the sustainability of our infrastructure and moving closer our rates closer to our 10-year financial plan after several years of pandemic mitigation. These improvements are crucial to ensuring we continue to deliver the high-quality services our community deserves and relies on.”

“As a lower-tier municipality, our budget is not only challenged by fixed and operational costs but also rising costs controlled by Niagara Region. We also need to address continued investments that mitigate environmental damage and costs associated with leaks or main breaks,” said Director of Financial Management Services and City Treasurer Kristine Douglas. “These investments, however, put a focus on ensuring consistent delivery of safe, affordable and high-quality drinking water today, and into the future.”

Specifically, annual fixed rates for water will rise by $6, from $177 to $183, while water volumetric rates will rise from $1.42 per cubic metre to $1.46 per cubic metre. On the wastewater side, annual fixed rates will increase by $33, from $153 to $186, and volumetric rates will rise by about $0.23 per cubic metre from roughly $2.15 per cubic metre to $2.37 per cubic metre.

The new rates went into effect on March 1, 2023.


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