ANTIGONISH: The town is looking to adjust its water rates.

On December 2, Antigonish Town Council approved a water rate study which includes the fiscal years 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. The rate study doesn’t include an increase for the next year but there are increases in the following two years.

Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said the increases will make sure the town can cover the costs of delivering water to users. She said the increase would amount to about approximately $1.30 per month per household, with an average of just over four per cent increase across the aboard in 2021-2022, and 4.5 per cent in 2022-2023.

“We’re not allowed to make revenue on providing water to residents and users,” said Boucher. “We are permitted and encouraged to charge enough that we keep our water utility healthy.”

The study now moves on to the next part of the approval process under the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which would include a public hearing.

Boucher said the last review saw water prices jump 17 per cent, which she said was done primarily to fund a depreciation fund which hadn’t been done significantly in the past.

“This is just maintaining the ability to provide a healthy utility,” said Boucher.

All of the town’s water users are metered and there has been a decrease in water use. Boucher added there are a number of factors behind this, notably that residents of the town are more aware of just how much water they are using and appliances are becoming more efficient.