KELOWNA - The City of Kelowna threw down the gauntlet for the city's other water purveyors today when it introduced a new city-wide water system that could cost up to $348 million over the next 50 years — nearly $95 million less than previous plans.
The 2017 Water Supply Value Planning Study's findings were presented in Monday afternoon's council meeting.
Finding a cost effective city-wide solution, improving water quality, while maintaining agricultural interests were the goals of the $220,000 study authored by Don Stafford, project lead from Strategic Value Solutions.
One of the key differences between this year's plan and the 2012 Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan, is using Mission Creek as a primary water supply for the city.
The plan suggests the creek could be the primary water source for three quarters of the year, while intakes from Okanagan Lake could be subbed in during times of high turbidity.
The 2012 plan required a filtration system for mission creek, however this year's study says the creek does not need to be filtered.
"Mission creek runs very high, which allows minimum amounts of pumping," Stafford said.
According to Stafford, this and other factors could result in $95 million in cost savings when compared to the 2012 plan.
In the months where Mission Creek is too turbulent to not require filtration - during spring runoff - Okanagan lake will be the primary water source.
"Kelowna is very special place in terms of the water system here," Stafford said. "There is nothing wrong with the 2012 plan, we just think the 2017 plan will take you further into the future."
The plan also separates agriculture systems from domestic systems. This separation is put in place in order to allow lower quality water to be used for agriculture, thus reducing the amount of water needed to be treated.
Currently, only South East Kelowna Irrigation District and South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District are involved in the project. The remaining three major water purveyors — Black Mountain Irrigation District, Rutland Water Works and Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District have not signed on.
The City of Kelowna has applied for a $43.9 million dollar provincial grant to go towards the project.
Strategic Value Solutions recommends the city moves forward with phase one of the study - which will cost approximately $57 million, according to Stafford.
According to mayor Colin Basran, implementation of the plan is dependent on the province's approval, and will be decided in the next coming months.
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