Wildfire evacuees get break on water bills

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Northern Sunrise County was approached by residents affected by wildfires in May to have their water bills waived for the month.

Some of the county’s residents were evacuated from their homes while fires ravaged the areas near their residences. County council acknowledged the request for the bills to be waived at its regular meeting on Aug. 8.

“Council chose to waive the water bill for the residents that were directly affected,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.

“Understanding this was an extreme event, council chose to waive the water bill to assist the residents with their water bill above their normal usage.”

Total waived was approximately $1,000 for six different homes that were evacuated during the fires.

Roughly 90 per cent of the accounts within the evacuation area had minimal to no change in their consumption.

“Their usage did not increase or was not significant in relation to their normal usage,” says Williams of the unaffected accounts.

“The accounts that showed an increase in water usage could have been using their water to spray down their yard sites, residence, out buildings or that of their neighbours,” she adds.

Evacuation of the area was for only one day during the most aggressive stretch of the fires at the beginning of May.

Fees waived were for the last billing cycle, which Williams explains was for the months of May and June.

“We will waive the fees that are over and above their regular usage amount,” she says.

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