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Water system backup

Consultants have been hired to deal with what could potentially be a worrisome situation in Naramata.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board has approved bringing AECOM Canada Ltd. on board to create plans for a back up power system for the area's water system.

"Basically for the past couple of years the Naramata Water Advisory Committee has talked about putting up a back up generator, in case we have a power outage," said area director Karla Kozakevich. "So we thought this was the best idea to get a consultant on this."

The cost of the consultant will be $52,700. With a design fee of $32,330 and construction services fee of $20,370.

According to the staff report, provided by engineer liisa bloomfield at the last RDOS board meeting, the water system relies on power to maintain operations for pumping source water for treatment and distribution of the water to customers.

All pumps, machinery, computers and sensors are all dependent on the continuous supply of power.

But in the upgrades in 2007, backup power was included in the designs, but budget constraints saw this eliminated during the final design.

What this means, is if power is lost and the system is at full demand, it would be depleted within a couple of hours in the summer and up to possibly half a day during the low demand in winter months.

Kozakevich said a power outage in the summer of 2012, drained reservoirs in two hours, further illustrating the need for such a project.

"We always knew this could happen, but we didn't realize how quickly the water system could drain," she said. "Say there was an emergency like an interface forest fire or even a residential fire, we don't want the risk of running out of water. Odds are that's not going to happen, but we don't want to risk it."

Kozakevich said they did apply for a grant last year to deal with the situation, but didn't get it.

A consultant can provide information on the total project cost, so a better decision can be made, she added.

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