City staff in Rossland will be looking at establishing a new water utility rate for farmers.
The move would aim to lower the rates for a number of properties zoned as “Class 9 Farm” and “Rural-Residential” around the city.
The majority of these properties exist in northern Rossland around Highway 3B and eastern Rossland around Highway 22 and Columbia Kootenay Road.
Under a current bylaw, farmers on these properties still pay the same water rates as residential or commercial property owners.
According to a report by city planner Stacey Lightbourne, the lower rate would incentivize the farmers to grow more food for themselves, businesses and residents.
The city would also investigate using untreated water on agricultural products as more farmers started to grow them.
Mayor Kathy Moore said a number of things need to happen for that to occur.
“The water that we’re currently using for farming and fire protection is all treated, however, it doesn’t need to be,” said Moore.
“To be able to provide untreated water for those things, we would need to build a whole separate section of infrastructure that takes water out of our reservoir and bypasses our water treatment plant and pipes into town. That’s just not feasible for us right now.”
The report suggested that a well could be drilled around one primary agricultural area in Rossland to help farmers access the untreated water.
Staff will report back to city council with more information on the proposed water utility rate at a later date.