Friday, July 30, 2010

Water issues - Mayor Garlick's letter to water customers.

I am writing this letter in response to the recent conversion of Coldstream Residents from Kal Lake water source to the Duteau Creek Water source (former VID). It may not be an easy read. I know it will not satisfy you, but I believe it is important for residents to try and understand. Please be patient for I will get to the part that concerns you directly as soon as possible.

I will start with some background on the history of the original water utilities involved and then move into the recent events that have lead to this move. I will point out here that no one person is responsible for this change. It is the result of a series of events that have left us with no options at this time. In addition, I can sympathies with your concerns since I have been on Duteau Creek water for 15 years, but it was my choice and not imposed upon me.

The three major original water utilities in the Greater Vernon Area were, the Vernon Irrigation District (VID), serving lands in Coldstream, the City of Vernon, Swan Lake and BX), the District of Coldstream domestic water system, and the City of Vernon domestic water system. The VID originally served only irrigation needs. The District of Coldstream and City of Vernon served the domestic needs and yard watering in summer for the most part. The VID was governed by a board of the water users, The District of Coldstream and City of Vernon systems by there local councils separately.

The VID began including domestic customers onto their system in large numbers in the 1970's. Until this time, households in the Coldstream area where usually served by the Coldstream domestic system in their homes and VID water for irrigation. We then began a rash of developments through the following decades served by VID water. The Tassie Drive area was not one of these.

Until the early 70's the Coldstream domestic system had two main sources, and intake on Coldstream Creek in Noble Canyon in Lavington and Antwerp Springs in Lavington. The water flowed from Lavington through the pipes toward Kal Lake serving residents along the way. A second small pump house and reservoir served residents only on the west side of Kal Lake. In the 1970's the District of Coldstream applied for and received licence on Kal Lake. A pump house was built at the end of Coldstream Creek to provide additional water into this same Coldstream domestic system. The three sources served the residents along the line. The water coming out of your tap depended on the use at any given time. It was possible for water for Antwerp Springs and Coldstream Creek to reach the Tassie area during high demand times or if servicing required the Coldstream pump house on Kal Lake to be shut down.

In the 1990's the intake on Coldstream Creek was shut down. A high water runoff year and land slide in Noble Canyon damaged the intake. This resulted in council of the day deciding not to repair the intake and depend on Antwerp Springs and the pump house on Kal Lake for supply of the Coldstream domestic system. In the 1980's concerns had already begun over the need for additional access to water from Kal Lake by Coldstream. A pump house location was considered at Lisheen Estates with a reservoir agreed to in principle in Kal Park. The Council of the day never proceeded with these plans.

In the 90's the City of Vernon also began to have water concerns. The city, like Coldstream, also had residents on VID water through new development they originally had or annexed in form BX or Swan Lake. Vernon also began to realise that they were running out of water licence on their only real water source which was also Kal Lake. In order to get around this the city began to use a large water licence which was held by the VID to convert customers. This however had limitations and a looming water shortage for the city was evident after the Province of BC informed them that Vernon would not be provided with additional water licence on Kal Lake or Okanagan Lake. The only major water licence available was through partnerships with the VID (which had now been converted into the North Okanagan Water Authority, NOWA, operated out of NORD serving the same VID customers) and the District of Coldstream which had excess water licence. The District of Coldstream, Swan Lake, and BX had concerns because of higher water quality requirements imposed on water utilities by the Province of BC (Interior Health, IHA) which required large amounts of money to be spent.

In about 2001, the Great Vernon Services Water Utility was formed at NORD. This was a partnership between the District of Coldstream, the City of Vernon and NOWA (Coldstream, Vernon, Swan Lake, BX) formed. A master water plan was put in place to make improvements to water treatment of all sources in the Greater Vernon Area. It appeared to solve the needs of all those involved. There have been revisions to the original master water plan since the inception. We now have a plan with he main treatment plants being provided with water from the pump house on West Kal Road to treatment on Mission Hill (Complete) and Duteau Creek intake treated just outside of Lavington (to be complete at the end of September).

The plan was to change over from Kal Lake eastward to treated Duteau water this fall. However, an unforeseen event has changed these plans. The unforeseen event I speak of is the contamination of the Antwerp Springs source. It is still under investigation by the ministry of Environment and the Source is closed. We now have only the Kal Lake pump house on Coldstream Creek road supplying water to the original Coldstream domestic system. The eastward areas of the original Coldstream domestic system were converted over to Duteau Creek water earlier this year due to the inability to supply demand. We now have increased demand due to outside watering. The Kal Lake pump house is unable to keep up. In addition, due to limitations of pipe sizes (fire fighting flows required), pipe locates, lack of crossover connections between system, and limited ability of pumping there was no choice except to provide water from Duteau Creek to meet the demands. The limitations listed above do not allow for a simple turning of a valve to provide water from the West Kal pump house source to flow to all of the areas needed. At this time there are no options.

I realise this does not fix your problems due to dirty water but I want to give and explanation for what your are enduring. Council will be pursuing the ability for Kal water to be available to Coldstream residents. I have asked for and received information on projects that will allow the flow of water from the West Kal pump house and improvements to the pump house on Coldstream Creek Road. Council believes that it is important for the water system to have redundancy of sources (Kal Lake, Antwerp Springs, Kal Lake and Coldstream Creek and Duteau). The drought scare and water emergency experienced earlier this year emphasize this need.

I do wish more of an explanation would have come with the change from the water utility.

Thanks for your time and please let me know if you have any questions. I will try to respond in a timely fashion.

Jim Garlick, Mayor
District of Coldstream
9901 Kalamalka Road, Coldstream, BC V1B 1L6
Cell / Voicemail 250 307 9490


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

given the increased need for water from Kal lake we really need to think about the prudence of sharing this resource with power-boats and other water-craft with internal-combustion engines. One use supports life the other a few hours of recreation.

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About Me

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.