Letter: Water plan flawed at best

Former councillor wades into the debate over Mission Creek and Kelowna’s water plan

To the editor:

As a city councillor and member of the Kelowna Joint Water Committee prior to 2011 I was party to the drafting of the first water plan for an integrated city water system. This plan was intended to support the requests of each individual water district for access to senior government funding. It was agreed that any funding available would first go to SEKID as this district had the greatest need for upgrades. However, any funding requests required support from the City of Kelowna.

Unfortunately, this support was not offered as expected. The city chose to place restrictions on any support, the most notable being an agreement from each water district to turn their management over to the City of Kelowna in order for the city’s support for funding. None of the water districts agreed to this clause which is why none of the water utilities were able to secure senior government funding at the time. This forced SEKID water users into more years of poor water quality as rate payers were unwilling/unable to bear the cost of the upgrades.

Conversely and thankfully GEID moved ahead with water quality improvement without the city’s support. We now have the deepest lake intake providing us with high quality, low risk water. I don’t support reverting to creek water especially Mission Creek water as outlined in the Phase 1 of the Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan. The cost involved, plus the reduction in water quality (turbidity) combined with the environmental impact on Mission Creek render this plan flawed at best.

Proper water management includes metering and volume rate scales. Customers who are heavy (possibly excessive) water consumer should pay more. We live in a semi-desert and it’s a choice, not an inequity, for consumers to pay extra money for a green lawn.

Graeme James, Kelowna