Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi at the ground-breaking ceremony for the first phase of work to join the South East Kelowna Irrigation District’s water system with the city’s water utility Wednesday. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Work to join Kelowna water systems underway

First phase of work to link the city and South East Kelowna Irrigation District’s systems starts

The long-awaited project to amalgamate the water system that serves southeast Kelowna with the City of Kelowna’s water utility has finally broken ground.

Thanks to a $44 million grant from the federal and provincial government, awarded in 2017, work is underway after a year of planning and preparation.

According to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, the three-year construction project marks the first step in ensuring all city residents have safe, clean drinking water.

“It’s not every day that we receive $44 million from our government partners,” Basran said at a ceremony to mark the start of the construction work Wednesday in southeast Kelowna.

“I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for acknowledging this essential need in Kelowna and for committing to help ensure our citizens have safe clean drinking water for a rapidly growing population and a resilient and redundant water supply system to meet all our water needs in the face of climate change.”

The city wants the three other irrigation districts that provide Kelowna residents with water—Rutland Waterworks, the Black Mountain Irrigation District and the Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District—to also join the city’s system. But to date, all three have refused.

The southeast Kelowna work was prompted by the urgent need to improve the SEKID system and the willingness of the irrigation district to join the city’s water utility.

The project carries a price tag of $85 million.

Phase one of the multi-year project involves separating agricultural and domestic water systems in southeast Kelowna and providing a sustainable water supply for agriculture in the South Mission area.

The federal government is providing $26,450,000 and the provincial government is providing $17,457,000 for the project through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The City of Kelowna is providing $19,100,000.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who was on hand for the groundbreaking Wednesday, said he was pleased to celebrate the start of work, a major initiative to improve water services and water quality for Kelowna residents.

“The government of Canada recognizes that investing in water infrastructure not only helps protect public health, but also strengthens the foundation for economic prosperity and the growth of the middle class,” he said.

Selina Robinson, B.C.’s minister of municipal affairs—who could not be at the event but sent a note—called the project a “huge step forward” for the city.

The improvements will eventually provide better quality drinking water for an estimated 2,000 homes in southeast Kelowna.

In addition to the money for phase one of the work, the province has also committed $12 million for the second phase of the project.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

40 Under 40: Amal Alhuwayshil

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

A look back at Kelowna’s past

A postcard showing the S.S. Sicamous in Kelowna

Separate trials set for 2018 Kelowna Canada Day killing

Four people have been charged with manslaughter in relation to Esa Carriere’s death, including two youths

Kelowna school says goodbye to elementary campus

Heritage Christian School’s new elementary wing will open in fall 2021

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

EDITORIAL: Counting the costs of a pandemic

As COVID-19 continues, Canada’s debt and deficit are growing while credit rating drops

Kootnekoff: New workplace harassment and violence requirements

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Dyer: Buying an electric car

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

Summerland Museum to hold walking tours

Community’s past will be explained during series of summer tours

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation following racist vandalism

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

HERGOTT: Goodbye column

Paul Hergott is taking a break from writing for Black Press

Lake Country motorhome fire deemed suspicious

Vehicle found fully engulfed Tuesday, July 14, just before 8:30 p.m.

COLUMN: A problem with the WE charity

Federal ethics commissioner investigating Trudeau for the third time

Most Read