Now that it has a water plan in place and the agreement of at least one local irrigation district to join it, Kelowna city council will consider a capital amendment to its 2017 budget to start work on the first phase of an integrated city water project.
The $63.7 million multi-year project will bring clean, safe drinking water to residents of Southeast Kelowna, acording to the city, as well as a reliable supply of agricultural irrigation water for the South Mission through integration the South East Kelowna Irrigation District and the Kelowna water utilities.
The recent federal/provincial grant of $43.9 million from the federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund will see SEKID ratepayers realize a significant direct cost savings, in addition to see the project completed 10 years faster than it would have without government funding.
A condition of the grant was that SEKID and South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District (SOMID) integrate with the city’s water utility, a move SEKID has agreed to.
“Integration of SEKID into the city utility offers greater long-term supply and consistency of clean potable water to residents, a stable rate-structure and a separate supply for agricultural irrigation,” said Ron Westlake, Kelowna’s special projects manager.
“The City of Kelowna drinking water consistently meets Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines and has not had a water quality advisory in over 20 years.”
The transition agreement with SEKID ensures a coordinated approach to project construction, merging rates and billing processes and integration of staff, says city hall.
The first phase of the project includes separated agricultural and domestic systems in Southeast Kelowna. Domestic water will be supplied through a new transmission line connecting to the city’s water distribution system from Okanagan Lake, while agricultural water will continue to be supplied from Hydraulic Creek with emergency connections to the domestic supply in the event of service disruption.
Phase 1 will also see a sustainable agricultural water supply delivered to SOMID, along with upgrades to the Kelowna’s water utility to accommodate future growth.
A design/build project for the SEKID and SOMID infrastructure will commence this fall, with construction anticipated to start in the spring of 2018.
“We look forward to working with SEKID and facilitating a smooth transition process for customers until the official integration is complete on Jan. 1, 2020,” said Westlake.
Interested residents 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.