Kelowna to host public session on it’s new integrated water plan

The $63.7 million first phase of the plan is slated to start later this year.

Kelowna City Hall. —Image credit: Capital News file

Want to know more about Kelowna’s multi-million dollar, multi-phase plan to create an integrated water supply and distribution system for the city?

Residents are invited to attend a public information session regarding implementation of phase 1 of the 2017 Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan June 20 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at South Kelowna Centennial Park (South Kelowna Elementary School, 4176 Spiers Road.)

The first phase of the plan will see $63.7-million spent to separate of agricultural and domestic water systems in Southeast Kelowna and improve delivery of a sustainable water supply to South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District customers.

Under the plan, domestic water will be supplied through an extension of the City of Kelowna’s water distribution system. Upgrades to the city’s’s water utility are required for the additional capacity, as well as to accommodate future growth.

As part of the plan, SOMID—with only eight properties—will join the city’s water system next summer or fall and the larger South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) will join the city’s system in 2020.

The three other major residential and agricultural water suppliers in the city—Rutland Waterworks, Glenmore-Ellison Irrigation District and Black Mountain Irrigation District—have so far refused to join the integrated water plan because they would have to join the city’s water system. They continue to operate as independent and separate water systems.

The informal information session slated for June 20 will include staff from the City of Kelowna, SEKID and consultants who will be available to talk to residents and answer questions.

“Many details of the infrastructure project, SEKID transition and agriculture rates are still in planning phases,” said Ron Westlake, Kelowna’s project manager.

“The information session is intended to give interested residents an idea of the scope of the project, enable them to determine how they might be affected by the different aspects and ensure that they keep up-to-date with future information as it becomes available.”

In order to access funding from federal and provincial sources, irrigation districts must integrate with local governments. A $43.9 grant from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund will see ratepayers of SEKID realize a significant direct cost savings, in addition to completing the project 10 years faster than without government funding.

“During the transition period, SEKID will continue to be the main point of contact for customers,” said Toby Pike, SEKID general manager. “We look forward to working with the City to ensure a coordinated approach to project construction, merging rates and billing processes and integration of staff until the official integration is complete on Jan. 1, 2020.”

Those interested can sign-up to receive email updates about the project and construction information at kelowna.ca/water or visit www.sekid.ca for customer information.