Proposals sought for much-needed capacity upgrade for Willowbrook water reservoir system

Water system overburdened

The Regional District of Okanagan Simlikameen is seeking proposals for a much-needed expansion to the Willowbrook water system reservoir to tackle times of increased usage like wildfire season.

The rural community near Oliver has had a tough go when it comes to their water system in recent years, living under a boil water notice for nearly four years that was finally lifted in July 2020.

Interior Health regulations for running water had changed when the RDOS took over the formerly private water system in 2016, with higher standards and pricier tests.

In 2020, the area director Rick Knodel secured a gas tax grant to get the necessary work done, saving the rural residents a major hike in their local taxes.

"It's nice to have your name attached to one good thing that actually comes to completion, and this is a biggie for me. They needed a little help and I'm glad to have been part of it," Knodel told Castanet at the time.

But the small system still needs more upgrades. Now, the next step is an expansion to the reservoir to keep up with demands, especially during fire season.

"The existing reservoir does not have a dedicated main and acts as a balancing reservoir which cycles frequently during periods of high water demand. Because the current reservoir is undersized the water system cannot meet the requirements for fire flows," reads the RDOS request for proposals, dated Nov. 29.

The request is open until Jan. 10, 2022. An optional pre-proposal site meeting for any consultants who wish to tour the water system will be held at the Willowbrook Pump House on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m.

Find the full RFP here.

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