The District of Lake Country has adopted a Water Master Plan developed to address the challenges unique to Lake Country and which supports growth and recognizes the agricultural role in the community. The Plan provides a broad assessment of the District’s future water source, treatment and distribution needs, and proposes a number of infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years.
“Everyone deserves safe drinking water and the District has the responsibility to provide safe water,” said Greg Buchholz, Operations Manager, District of Lake Country. “The system is in need of renewal because it is old and some infrastructure is starting to fail. The new Water Master Plan will save us money in the long run, but only if we make investments in our water system now.”
In a presentation delivered Tuesday evening at a televised public Council meeting, staff and Council reviewed what the Water Master Plan was all about, why it is necessary, how much it will cost, and the public input over the past year and a half. The Water Services Advisory Committee was thanked for their efforts and assistance.
Mr. Buchholz emphasized the need to achieve:
· a consistent level of service to all existing customers;
· full compliance with existing Interior Health Authority policies;
· adequate capacity to meet the growth needs of the District; and
· proactive management to minimize future risks.
The infrastructure improvements will be paid for through a combination of residential, commercial and agricultural water rates, provincial and federal government grants and development cost charges. The financial strategy is based on the best possible information available and is flexible regarding growth, inflation and grants. Council approved $50 annual increases on water rates over the next four years.
“We need water that is reliable, safe and clean,” emphasized Buchholz. “It is the right thing to do. Delaying spending now only results in increased costs later.”
A 20 year Capital Projects Summary was developed to highlight the details of each project. Following the Kal Lake Interconnect project, which will be completed in the Spring of 2013, the next major project will be universal water metering, which will start to be rolled out in 2014. “This plan will put us on the map in BC if not in Canada,” said Councillor Penny Gambell. “I’m glad to see it includes at least a 10% capacity reserve in case of climate change or an urgent need for additional water. The agricultural community relies heavily on water supply.”
Read the Water Master Plan at http://www.okanaganway.ca/municipal-services/water/water-master-plan/