It's been a hot, dry summer in Alberta and a number of communities in the southern part of the province have gone so far as to ration water use.
 
Drumheller doesn't have the same problem, as the Red Deer River is more than enough to meet our needs, but that hasn't stopped some people from complaining about the price of town water.
 
Mayor Terry Yemen told 99.5 Drum FM he still gets calls from people complaining that they no longer get free water to keep their lawns and gardens looking nice during the summer.
 
"Nothing's free. When they say that the Town of Drumheller increased the water usage and gave us free water through the summer, well that's a misnomer, it's not free. It still costs a lot of money to process that water: it's probably the most expensive thing a municipality can do,"
 
Drumheller switched to a user pay system of charging by the cubic metre a number of years ago as part of a plan to make the system pay for itself.
 
"If you were a small volume water user, what happened is you ended up subsidizing the people that would use the maximum," explained Mayor Yemen. "This, now, is a user pay: there's an X amount of cost for supplying water for Drumheller (and) that's what we recover."
 
He also thinks maybe it's time we adjusted our way of thinking about water in light of the issues facing the world today.
 
"I've always had a green lawn, my father had a green lawn, may grandfather had a green lawn: maybe it's time to change that way of thinking," he mused. "Back in the 1950's and '60's we drove cars that got eight miles to the gallon; back in the '60's, I remember there was raw sewage being pumped into the Red Deer River. Because we always used to do it isn't a good reason why we should continue to do it."
 

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