Letter: Integrated water supply will ease costs

The City of Kelowna has a responsibility to all citizens, regardless of where they get their water.

To the editor:

The letter from David Stirling, (Mayor Challenged on Water Quality, Sept. 18 Kelowna Capital News) former chair of the Kelowna Joint Water Committee, exemplifies the reason council is pushing for progress on clean drinking water and a sustainable, integrated water supply system.

While the letter states “the long-term plan the mayor wants to develop already exists,” it neglects to mention that the 2012 Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan, which would cost all local ratepayers $360-million, also came with a provincial requirement for a Value Planning exercise to be undertaken before any grant money is committed to the plan.

We applaud the province for its requirement that the Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan be vetted through a value planning exercise. This is needed, in the words of Minister Coralee Oakes, “to examine the merits of the current plan, explore the best lowest-cost options for the entire plan and include evaluation of whether multiple water system purveyors is a viable and effective solution for an integrated, redundant system.”

As far back as May of 2012, the province made it quite clear that a value planning process would be needed before grants could be applied for. This was reiterated to the KJWC as recently as Feb. 26 in a letter from Minister Oakes.

It is the lack of acknowledgment of this long standing provincial requirement that is holding up grants—not the City of Kelowna.

The City of Kelowna supports the value planning exercise because we believe that, if integration of the various water providers is considered sooner than called for in the original plan, integration would potentially save ratepayers approximately $180 million.

This is based on information received in 2014, when the city commissioned its own broad level due diligence study of the current plan. The “best lowest-cost option” would result in significant savings that could leave money available for other priorities, such as expanding our balanced transportation network or community safety initiatives.

A further review to maximize the value of an integrated, resilient, reliable and sustainable water supply system will be money well spent. The irrigation districts’ relatively small ratepayer base makes sustainability of individual systems a challenge in the face of climate change and changing regulations.

Due in part to its large ratepayer base, the City of Kelowna has continually improved its water system without the assistance of funding from senior levels of government. This kind of robust system throughout Kelowna would ensure back-ups are in place if one source experiences supply or quality issues.

We understand the idea of integrating water systems can be a difficult topic for independent water districts. However, the City of Kelowna has a responsibility to all citizens, regardless of where they get their water, and will continue to push for clean drinking water and a robust, sustainable system for the future.

Colin Basran,

Mayor, City of Kelowna

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Body found in burnt Kelowna home

“Firefighters later updated police that a body had been discovered inside the home. “

Kelowna council puts brakes on second airport hotel proposal

Council defers discussion pending a new report from planning staff

Shock hits Okanagan flagging company

Experienced employee battling serious injuries after being hit by a car

Kelowna facing serious housing challenge

Report to city council shows major issues with the city’s housing situation

Angler fined for over-fishing on Gardom Lake

It was an expensive fishing trip for an Okanagan man this weekend.… Continue reading

Tattooing couple opens new shop in Lake Country

Cody and Fabiana Philpott opened NSI Tattoo in August

BC Hydro issues storm safety tips

Bulletin indicates “electrical contact incidents resulting in serious injury are on the rise.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee visits B.C.

Premier John Horgan talks trains, trade with southern neighbour

Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

RCMP say they have identified those involved and are working with conservation officers

A second robbery of a Penticton business involving a weapon

Police say a male pulled a knife on a Wal-Mart security guard Monday

UPDATE: Police investigate violent Kamloops home invasion

Two people are in hospital with serious injuries following a home invasion

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million: auditor general

Michael Ferguson’s review hints the entire system should be scrapped

B.C. government poverty strategy tour set to begin

Victoria first for B.C. committee, province-wide until next March

UPDATE: CBS fires Charlie Rose following allegations

Charlie Rose is the latest public figure to be accused with sexual misconduct allegations

Most Read