Residential water customers in Chatham-Kent will have to scoop $48 deeper into their pockets to pay their 2013 bills.
The new rate was approved Thursday by members of the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission. Coun. Jeff Wesley, chairman of the commission, voted against the increase.
The new rate hike will result in a yearly water and wastewater charge of $792 for the average customer.
PUC general manager Tom Kissner said water consumption has declined across the municipality.
He said water and wastewater flows for 2011 decreased by 6.3% from 2010 and the forecast is for a decrease again in 2012.
He said the water usage for the average account in 2001 was 250 cubic metres per year. The usage has now decreased to 200 cubic metres per year or a 17.6% reduction in billed volumes over the past five years.
The new rate is equivalent to an increase of $2 a month for water customers and a $2 increase for wastewater charges for a monthly increase of $4 or a yearly increase of $48.
The new rate is similar to increases approved for 2012.
The 2013 rate of $792 is far less than the $1,061.28 rate for 2012 in Lambton Shores but higher than the $675.10 rate for 2012 in London.
The monthly charge for flat rate customers has also been adjusted and is based on the monthly increases for the average metered residential customer.
The Chatham-Kent water distribution system consists of approximately 1,710 km of waterlines, 3,321 hydrants and 37,239 active accounts.
The PUC also provides some potable water to the neighbouring communities of Leamington and Lakeshore.