Thursday, August 26, 2010

Readers write - Water issues.

The following email was sent by East-HillResident in response to
A discussion paper on fair water pricing. The suggestions are worth considering by Greater Vernon Water politicians. Here are the comments:
Blogger EastHillResident said...

There is ZERO incentive for conservation with today's billing structure.

There needs to be a better way to manage the financing needed to accomplish what was promised under the Master Water Plan.

Even back in 2004 when we were asked to vote in a referendum, the numbers did not add up correctly - the theory at the time was that rates should not increase, hence the borrowing. So what happened? We borrowed money, but our rates have only increased.

How about some public meetings regarding the MWP and where we are at, exactly? Who is making all these important decisions and when will we unwashed masses get to hear about it?

Why do we strike a drought management committee when we don't have an official drought? We don't have a committee reviewing our Master Water Plan and the $105 million+ price tag for the system improvements that we are required to undertake? What about system separation decisions?

How about adding in the cost of the reclaimed water utility ($1.5 million per year) that allows the large consumers of water in our area, the golf courses and hilltop resorts, to purchase cheap treated wastewater for their irrigation, which does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to financially support our regional water utility - that responsibility falls solely on the backs of all regular joe residents, taxpayers and water users of Greater Vernon.

The problem here is not just drinking water. Water and wastewater are undoubtedly interconnected, and until the system is considered as a whole, we won't be able to secure a better future.




Grass Hopper said...

I think the idea of the drought committee would be to get businesses and agriculture that are affected financially by water restrictions together to discuss how the restrictions could be implemented in such a way as to soften the blow. Because there is no drought right now I think it is still important to get together before we have another scare and at least not have to scramble when we do. However if the water authority does their due diligence and actually starts construction on raising the dam up at Aberdeen Lake soon, this should allow us a lot more water storage and lessen the likely-hood that we get into a stage three restriction situation again anyways... And why they never secured significant water rights on Okanagan Lake back in the day blows my mind.......

VernonResident said...

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge you sitting on a drought committee for business and agriculture, but why are restrictions proposed as the only solution to future water shortages?

For example, a rate structure that actually promotes conservation could go a long way towards managing future drought, without negatively impacting our utility's finances.

Which leads me to my beef about establishing a drought committee, when we don't even know what is happening with our $105 million+ Master Water Plan!

The public should be informed, consulted and involved in important (and expensive) decisions about the Master Water Plan, for example system separation - separating irrigation and agricultural water from residential water should interest Grasshopper as both a business and a resident.

There are more cost-effective options available than the expensive one you have proposed to raise the dam.

All those options should be discussed, out in the open, for all of us who pay for the regional water utility.

Currently, businesses that utilize reclaimed water as their irrigation source are not contributing to the financial health of our utility.

We residents already paid for that water twice, first to drink it and then to treat it. Why should select businesses be the ones who benefit, on the backs of all GV water users, while our utility continues to be muddled in a financial mess?

Sorry, but I do not believe a drought committee represents sufficient consultation for our entire water system.


I think the drought committee is only meant to be a consultation with local business and agriculture that would be impacted by stage three restrictions, and not much more than that

Our biggest problem here is not being able to store enough water when we have it. We were the only ones in the valley that were under such strict restrictions this spring, other than the Black Mountain Irrigation district I believe. Constantly the utility creates an idea via local media that its the fault of residents, we all need to use less, however, we use less already than any other area in the valley and are close to the national average. One only has to go to Kelowna and you can see how we are light years ahead of them for proper use of water. Sure there are people that abuse the system and water WAY too much , but the majority are pretty good and the public should be acknowleged for this. Instead of putting the onus on us to conserve EVEN MORE, the utility should do what it is mandated to and that is to supply us with a RELIABLE supply, that is CLEAN and is AFFORDABLE.

They used to store water in Kal at a higher elevation, and I think since the flood of 10 years ago the storage level has been kept lower in the spring to lessen the chance of this happening again. From what I have heard the utility was looking into improving the outlet gate to be able to more safely and reliably store water at a higher level in the spring. I cant see this costing millions, yet it would be a cost effective way of storing more water for summer when we have the ability to. They could apply to transfer unused water rights from Coldstream Creek to Kal Lake.

I also agree that we are being kept in the dark on the whole MWP and there should be a lot more consultation.....but the whole thing is an "old boys club" and until we get some new people in there nothing will change.

Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss;


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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.