Saturday, February 27, 2016

Readers write - and a response.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "

Do we need to increase the capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir?
From the annual reports, why didn’t you use the outflow totals, which are shown on 3 of the 4 annual report snapshots you took? 22,440 ML, 18,811 ML, and 16,217 ML.

Your 18,000 ML capacity for aberdeen reservoir appears to be incorrect – on the RDNO website, the posted master water plan says it’s 10,330 ML and that raising the dam would bring it up to 22,000 ML.

“Writing a letter to the editor is easy. Writing a factual letter is a whole lot more difficult.” 

You are correct with the last paragraph! My comments follow below.

Check out the composition of the outflow totals based on your selection of the data:

2011 total: 22,440 ML (6,359 Domestic,7,810 Agriculture, 37% Unaccounted for),

2012 total: 18,811 ML (5,720 D, 5,986 Ag 38% UAF),

2013 total 16,217 ML
(6,043 D, 6,815 Ag, 29% UAF).

2014 total not provided

What use is the total outflow record? It only reflects the efficiency of the distribution system. It does not reveal the annual water demand. The annual water demand is what customers use and pay for annually. The losses due to old pipes and poor management are unintended consequences.  We pay for the UAF water indirectly through our inflated water rates but have no benefit from it. Please refer to the appendices in the original report.

Note that the outflow values reflect the sum of both treatment plants not just Duteau’s.

The UAF % is reduced in 2013 and not even reported in 2014. Staff started to address the problem with apparently good results.

The capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir is reported by GVWU staff and can be referenced here. From my interpretation the capacity is over 18,000,000 cubic meters (18,000 ML).

Feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park News


Do we need to increase the capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir?

Do we need to increase the capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir?
By Gyula Kiss

Staff of Greater Vernon Water Utility is insisting that there is an urgent need to increase the capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir without providing convincing evidence for such an increase.
“6. Question: Confirm option 2 includes upgrade/increase to storage facilities, as this was identified as an issue in earlier meetings.

Answer: If you mean increasing the storage on Aberdeen, then yes this is included in Option 2. In fact all options include “Aberdeen Dam Improvements – Raise Dam by 4 metres” with the exception of Option 6 - using OK lake as the sole potable water source.”
In order to verify (or not) this need I examined the available evidence for this need. The table below is a summary of actual annual water consumption as reported by GVWU staff in their Annual Reports from 2011 to 2014.

The data presented here clearly indicate that there is no need for an increase of the Aberdeen water supply at this time or in the foreseeable future.

The current capacity of the Aberdeen Reservoir is slightly over 18,000 ML/a. The combined average water (the sum of agriculture and domestic water) consumption of years 2011-2014 is 12,791 ML/a including the Mission Hill source. Of this agriculture consumption averages 6,856 ML/a while the average domestic consumption was 5,935 ML/a.

Should we ever need to increase the size of said reservoir it should be a joint cost born by both domestic and agriculture customers. The current proposal places the costs of both the dam height increase and the Gold-Paradise works solely on the shoulders of the domestic customers.

The question may be asked: why are our employees so keen on spending nearly $10 million on a project that is clearly not an urgent matter? For over a hundred years the current reservoir provided customers with the water they needed without having the current controls of water usage. We now have water meters, high prices to reduce usage and a Drought Management Plan to address water shortages. Why spend all that extra money when customers are already hurting due to high water rates? One more comment: Option 7 does not need to contain dam increase costs nor Gold Paradise costs either.

This report was based on the information presented in the Appendices below.

Appendix 1.  GVWU Water consumption in 2011 (GVWU Annual report - 2011)

Appendix 2.  GVWU Water consumption in 2012 (GVWU Annual report - 2012) 


Appendix 3. GVWU Water consumption in 2013 (GVWU Annual Report - 2013)

Appendix 4. GVWU Water consumption in 2014 (GVWU Annual Report - 2014)

Note: 1 ML= 1,000 m3

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Water wars - Kelowna?


Letter to the Editor - and a response.

The above letter was published in the Morning Star on February 21, 2016. The following is my response to that letter.
"Nice to see that someone appreciates my efforts of trying to make sense of the MWP! Unfortunately, I cannot take all the credit for the defeat of the referendum last November. The writer may remember that there were two members of GVAC who voted against both the MWP and taking it to referendum. The rest of the GVAC members supported the plan and sent it to public scrutiny. Staff and consultants put forward their best efforts to convince the public to vote “yes”.

During the election campaign something changed. Most of the candidates running for office declared that they no longer supported the referendum and they would vote against it. Why did these candidates change their minds? Did they receive additional information on the plan? If they could share this new information with the members of SAC it would make their work a lot easier." 

The only two sitting Directors on GVAC who remained supporters of the referendum were those who were acclaimed without having to campaign. Oddly, those are the only two Directors who are NOT customers of the GVWU and do not pay for the MWP.

You mention using cash-basis to cover the costs of the MWP budget. That is exactly what staff had been doing since the 2004 referendum. Ratepayers approved the borrowing of $35 M for the MWP yet we spent over $66 M by 2012. Where did the extra cash come from? It came from direct cash extraction from ratepayers. This was against the spirit of the referendum as this cash is not shared by future ratepayers. If staff needed $66 M they should have asked for a loan approval of $66 M not $35 M.

The DCWTP was not recommended by the Consultants of MWP 2002. In fact, they declared the current plan a waste of money. Which consultants were right? Judging from the results the 2002 consultants were right.

Adding a filtration plant to Duteau was not mentioned in the 2004 MWP Addendum. That was kept a secret for fear of rejection of such large referendum bill.

The cost of borrowing $35 M is about $2.4 M annually. This represents about 12% of the total budget of $19.6 M. Feet dragging is not the cause of the high bills: the cause is the high cost of operation and maintenance of the triple  water system. We now operate the Kalamalka Lake system, the old VID system with the domestic quality irrigation water and the new raw water irrigation system built by the ratepayers of GVWU. Those are the sources of the high water cost. Ad to this the cost of the two filtration plants in the plans along with their operation costs and you’ll see where we are heading with water rates.

One would hope these high water costs are shared equally by all customers. Not a chance! The majority of RDNO Directors just approved the rates for 2016. Domestic customers will continue to subsidize ICI customers for over $2.5 M for 2016. If subsidies are necessary than the entire community should contribute through a RDNO Function. As it is only domestic water customers participate in this subsidy. The two Directors who fought hard for this subsidy are not participating in the costs. Easy to tell others to pay if you do not have to do the paying yourself!

So these are just some of the facts. There are lot more but let’s leave those for another occasion.

Writing a letter to the editor is easy. Writing a factual letter is a whole lot more difficult.
Some of you may wonder how the $2.5 M subsidy above was arrived at. Here is a quick summary:

Budget requirement for 2016:     $19,600,000
Agriculture contribution:              $     783,799
Needed from domestic:              $18,712,520
Expected water sales:                   5,820,000 m3
Cost of 1 m3 of water:                  $3.22
Water consumption ICI                   1,580,000 m3
Expected revenue    @ $3.22      $  5,080,000
Subsidized revenue @ $1.58       $  2,496,400
Difference (subsidy)                 $  2,583,631

These are real, hard figures calculated from the data provided by staff. We can manipulated anyway we wish but the real facts are these. Anyone who gets his/her water for less than $3.22 per m3 is being subsidized. The base fee of $408/a in real term is the value of 126.71 m3 of water. In other words we pay for 126.71 m3 of water without getting a drop.

Only water customers are forced to subsidize ICI customers.

The annual repayment of borrowing costs us 898,470 cubic meters of water. Every item in the budget can be expressed in terms of unit cost of water ($3.22 per m3). Employees' wages: every $10,000 costs 3,106 m3. Thus, if we subsidize anyone we force the rest of the customers to pay more than their fair share of those costs.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Readers write - Observations on the MWP review process.

The following is my brief summary of the MWP review process over the past 15 months:
In the fall of 2014, a referendum was held to approve funding for the GVW's 2012 MWP.  That referendum proposal was soundly defeated.
GVW management and elected municipal officials claimed the public didn't understand, and later admitted enough may not have done to inform the public.
In response to continued pressure to review and revise the MWP, a SAC was formed.
SAC members were selected based on their lack of involvement in developing the MWP.
All information and facts provided to assist the SAC in their review came from GVW staff and the consultant who prepared the MWP; no independent experts were allowed to contribute.
SAC was told they could only review and make recommendations on non-cost topics, even though the SAC was formed in response to a failed funding referendum.
To further ensure the desired SAC response, GVW and the elected officials leading the SAC focused the SAC members on choosing wording for non-cost evaluation criteria; lest SAC try to get into the substance of the MWP - like maintenance & construction, operation, infrastructure, water rates, domestic vs agricultural use, water supply, water treatment, etc., etc.
While the SAC review was underway, GVW carried on with projects and expenditures consistent with the MWP, as if the referendum had never occurred and there was no review.
The exercise is now almost over and it is seems certain that GVW, and the associated elected officials will proclaim "An extensive review of the 2012 MWP by a large and diverse SAC has found no need for substantive change".
The foregoing is a sad statement about abilities and responsiveness of our local government bureaucracy where elected officials and staff are supposed to act in the best interest of the rate paying customers and voting public.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Auxiliary Cop Tax Credit Petition Over 600 Names

Posted on 2/15/2016 by Ron Manz 107.5 KISSFM

An online petition supporting a tax credit for auxiliary police officers has reached 663 signatures as of today (Monday). The initiative, brought about by Vernon Councillor Bob Spiers, has only been active for a month. Spiers says volunteer firemen and search and rescue personnel benefit from this tax break and he feels auxiliary police officers also deserve it. The new Liberal government opened the door by implementing a new E-petition concept Spiers has taken advantage of. "Anyone could go on and petition the government and the government would be responsible to make sure it got heard in the House of Commons. It's another way of bringing it in front of them, and hopefully with a new government I was hoping to get a better response." Spiers points out his petition is designed to give all auxiliary police and not only those with the RCMP a break. "It also applies to any auxiliary policemen. It's not only the RCMP ones we're talking about, but any of the municipal auxiliaries, the provincial auxiliaries that are in the same category, in uniform unpaid volunteers." Spiers says the tax credit would be one way of thanking these volunteers for the time the put in with all police departments Canada-wide.

The petition is open for signatures until May 7th. Here is the link.

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The previous government instituted a tax credit for Volunteer Firemen in 2011 and a similar tax treatment for Volunteer Search and Rescue in 2014; and
  • An Auxiliary Constable is an unarmed, unpaid, uniformed RCMP volunteer whose activities are governed under provincial legislation.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, request (or call upon) the Government of Canada to extend a tax credit to Auxiliary Police Officers similar to that already given to Volunteer FireFighters and Search and Rescue volunteers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GVAC Meeting - February 11, 2016

Rate Imposition and Budget approval!

My review of the rate proposal is here.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bill Maher interviewing Erin Brockovich

Above tables depict the THM levels in the Kalamalka and the Duteau Creek water sources. Note the faint green line indicating the maximum safe levels recommended by health officials.


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;


We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

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.