Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pressure grows for water plan

“The (failed water plan) referendum is coming up on three years and we’re marginally coming along on how to finance it,” said Doug Dirk, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee director.

 Director Dirk is too kind!

Actually, the Master Water Plan has been going on since 2001, for over 15 years. It was supposed to be completed by 2007 (see MWP 2002 page 11-1). Then politics came in. Over $70 million later, amazingly,  we are irrigating agricultural crops with treated water, a huge waste of ratepayers money. Treatment cost runs about $1.5 million a year. Unfortunately, this water has chlorination only for disinfection while it serves about 20% of the domestic customers. It needs more treatment.
Now GVWU is planning to spend additional $8+ million so they can irrigate crops with even more expensive ultraviolet treated water. That is an extra treatment cost on top of the $1.5 million for a total of likely over $2 million annually. As the Chair person remarked, with UV we hope to be able to defer (but not eliminate) filtration for a bit longer. If filtration also has to be installed that will make the $8 million UV treatment redundant. It will also make the treatment costs significantly higher.

Kelowna and the South East Irrigation District (SEKID) were facing the same problem as Greater Vernon and VID did. Kelowna chose to take the gradual improvement plan by improving the water quality for the greater population of Kelowna first by installing UV treatment on the Okanagan Lake water supply. They have deferred filtration as the lake water quality was good without filtration.

When the problem with SEKID finally came to a crunch Kelowna went to the Government with the problem. They succeeded in obtaining a $44 million grant that will be used for total separation of the irrigation and the domestic water supply.

Greater Vernon Utility officials believed that government grants could only be used for treatment plant construction. Kelowna proved it not to be so! GVU wasted our money (and government grants as well) for constructing an ill-advised, money sucking treatment plant at Duteau because "...grants were available for treatment plant construction".

Kelowna is getting to work on a totally separated system that will provide highly treated Okanagan Lake water for both SEKID and Kelowna customers.

There is still time to reverse the current MWP direction. Projected additional cost to complete the MWP as it currently planned is roughly $150 million. About $110 million of that is proposed for Duteau Plant projects. In addition there will still remain the annual treatment cost of about $2 million or more. These moneys would be more than adequate to cover the total separation costs.

The current masters of the MWP have been at it for nearly 17 years with little to show for their efforts. They are now bogged down in protecting the current direction. Since the construction of the Duteau Creek WTP there was a desperate effort to maintain the plant in the system even if it costs more to the taxpayers. They would not admit that there were mistakes made. New information has not been incorporated into the plans. For instance, the initial projections for water demand were hugely overestimated. We are still using those estimates in our plans to create larger than necessary infrastructure at higher than necessary costs

It is obvious that a second opinion is needed to evaluate the MWP. When a potential expenditure for the plan is  over $215 million we should not rely on the opinion of a single group that ruled for over 15 years with questionable success. We must insist on getting a second opinion.

Staff and politicians try to eliminate further input from the ratepayers by using inflated water rates to collect funding for the financing of the water plan. This way they would not have to go for another referendum. It's kind of an "end run" to avoid the repeat of the 2014 defeat of the referendum.

However, this action is totally inappropriate as the current ratepayers will not get the benefit of what they are paying for. The benefits will only come after the moneys are collected and the projects are completed. For many that might be too late! Talk to your elected politicians and express your opinion to them!

My earlier activities: In 1991 I wrote a report with supportive evidence that total separation of the domestic and agriculture systems is the most cost effective option to follow.  MWP 2002 affirmed the same principle.

In 2006 I appeared in front of the RDNO Board of Directors requesting a Judicial Review (click for news report) of the direction of the MWP. It was refused. Instead, staff wrote a report stating that the Plan, which is incomplete even today,  was heading in the right direction. It seems that was not true.

This might be my last effort to appeal to my colleagues and to the Greater Vernon Water customers to demand an independent review of the plans. I have no more voice on GVAC. Neither staff nor politicians wish to hear opposing opinion.

Perhaps they will have to start listening to you, the customers! So voice your opinion or pay the price!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

GVW - Water Supply Update


Monday, April 10, 2017

Coldstream Council Meeting - April 10, 2017


Call for Volunteers -- RDNO


Friday, April 7, 2017

Response to Anonymous comments on: Some real data on Greater Vernon water use

Anonymous said...

   “Let's not assume anything!

    Actual residential water usage in Greater Vernon is closer to 222 litres per person per day, not 675.    As Coldstreamer has calculated, we are already "doing the right thing" and conserving water (... probably because our rates are so high!).

    Same story with BC Hydro - customers do the right thing and conserve energy, and then the utility hikes the rates. We can't win.”

The above comment was in response to my blog post entitled: 

Some real data on Greater Vernon water use.
The quoted reference by Anonymous was published by Jennifer Miles in 2009. She is currently employed by the North Okanagan Regional District.  The report shows even lower per capita water use than was calculated by me. That calculation was based on water use data provided by Greater Vernon Water in their Annual Reports between 2011-2015 (reported average annual per capita consumption at 307 liters per day per capita).

There are some questions that must be asked:
The 2012 Master Water Plan was designed for a domestic capacity of 9,670 ML in 2011, increasing in steps to 13,360 ML in 2052. At the estimated consumption of 222 l/d/p the 9,670 ML would have supported a population of 119,339. Why would the planners design such a huge oversized infrastructure for a population of ~55,000? They must have been aware of the report by Jennifer Miles.

The 2052 consumption estimate of 13,360 ML would provide domestic water for a population of 164,877 using the 222  per capita estimates. Would we anticipate that kind of growth in 40 years?
Even at the per capita consumption of 307 l/d/p, calculated by me based on actual data, the projected 2011 consumption of 9,670 ML would have supplied  over 86,000 people. That’s an oversize of 57%.
 One set of data that made a huge influence on the per capita consumption was the high ICI water consumption. Without the ICI consumption the current per capita consumption could be in the low to middle 200's.
Obviously, if the 222 l/d/p consumption figure was used to estimate future water demands the plant would have been undersized. However, the currently available empirical evidence should be considered prior to establishing future water demand figures. Should we not incorporate actual data collected over 5 (or now 6 years)?

As for “Let's not assume anything!”: scientific reports must always state the assumptions the author of the report made in collecting the data for the study and for the conclusions.

Civil Servants must understand: services required by their employers, the public, must be provided cost effectively and to the demand the public requires within the available resources. If we require the public to finance an infrastructure that exceeds their needs and/or the capacity of the resource, then the customers pay more than they need to pay.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Selected Morning Star Newsclips - In case you missed them.



Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Meeting - April 6, 2017


Monday, April 3, 2017

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

My photo
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.