For the Record

July 30, 2020

In response to the letter “East Kelowna paying for City water screw-ups” published in the Daily Courier July 22:

The Stage 3 water restrictions are necessary to transition to a new water system.

A number of large properties in southeast Kelowna are using potable water for irrigation when non-potable water is available to them. While a number of properties in this area have both potable and non-potable water supply, not all water use has been transitioned to the appropriate supply source yet. Where available, non-potable water needs to be used for outdoor watering, as the potable system was not designed to support this use.

Additionally, with about one-quarter of private properties in this area having significant water leaks, short-term water restrictions are necessary.

The strain on the system is transitional and related to the capacity of the water system extension to southeast Kelowna. With temperatures rising in recent weeks and an extraordinary demand on the potable water supply, there was concern the system would be unable to ensure adequate water for consumption, sanitation and firefighting. 

The temporary restriction applies only to outdoor use of treated water because we need to ease pressure on our potable water supply in this specific area. Hand watering of outdoor plants with a spring-loaded hose is allowed any morning or evening to maintain plant health.

As for the ponds in the Hall Road area, RDCO Parks staff have refilled both the Evelyn Island Pond (referenced “turtle” pond) using water from Mission Creek as well as the Hall Road Children’s Fishing Pond (water from the new well that was drilled a few weeks ago).  They are now starting to fill the “middle pond” located between the Hall Road Children’s’ Fishing Pond and the Evelyn Island Pond and this work should be completed by next week.

Finally, the letter writer’s suggestion that the water rate is unfair needs to be clarified. The water rate for former SEKID customers is the same as that set by SEKID for 2019, for water that did not meet Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines. The City of Kelowna potable metered water rate being implemented in January is one of the lowest in Canada.

Over the next few weeks, City staff will continue to get the new facilities running to their maximum capacity and will continue to work with property owners to transition to irrigating with the non-potable system. 

The new system has capacity to accommodate the population in this area now and will accommodate the anticipated growth in the area once the transition is complete. Once interconnects with other water utilities are in place, these types of challenges will be reduced even further.