May 22nd, 2024

Council approves new water conservation incentive program

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on May 8, 2024.

In an effort to encourage residents to conserve water this summer, city officials presented members of council with a water conservation incentive program that will boost its HatSmart program.

During a presentation from Gareth Chudleight, corporate strategic analyst, councillors heard residential, parks and third-party water irrigation make up the majority of the city’s water consumption from May to October.

During these months residential water consumption is up to three times higher (more than 2,000,000 cubic metres) than during winter months.

“That causes significant stress on our city’s infrastructure,” said Chudleight.

To encourage residents to reduce water consumption at home councillors voted unanimously to adopt a program that will provide incentives similar to the HatSmart program.

“Xeriscape material, low water use appliances, a rain barrel program and smart irrigation control systems,” said Chudleight.

The city requested council to approve a one-time funding request for $150,000 for the program that will help address short-term water concerns this season.

“I’m going to make a plea to the citizens of Medicine Hat,” said Coun. Darren Hirsch. “Just to look to curtail their watering habits this year. Even if you looked at curtailing 10 per cent of your traditional habits and look for other alternatives, it would make a huge difference.”

However, the city will request an environmental conservation charge that will be applied to residential customers similar to natural gas and electricity in the 2025-26 budget.

The city says funds collected would be directed toward water conservation efforts for residential customers.

In April the city entered into a water conservation agreement with the province with a goal to reduce its overall consumption by 10 per cent.

Real estate buy

Councillors approved a motion to enter into a real estate purchase contract for the sale of the property located on the 800 block on Second Street SE for a purchase price of $570,000.

The purchase is subject to terms and conditions that must be satisfactory to both the city manager and city solicitor. Council was told if this transaction fails to close, the city will list the property on the open market for fair market value.

There was no open discussion among councillors on this motion.

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