Kelowna's water supply key focus as City prepares for worst case in COVID-19 pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna's water supply key focus as City prepares for worst case in COVID-19 pandemic

Kelowna City Hall
March 12, 2020 - 8:30 PM

Lance Kayfish, the City of Kelowna's Risk Manager, is used to preparing the city to deal with floods and fires.

Now he’s heading a team planning emergency procedures in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the city.

One consideration is how to maintain critical services in case of absenteeism that some reports say could be up to 40 per cent of staff.

“An example of critical services is to keep fresh potable water running to every home in the city, making sure toilets flush,” he told

One consideration there is to make sure there are enough chemicals on hand to purify the water. While the City hasn’t started to stockpile yet, it is looking at what needs to be brought in for the water and sewage treatment plants.

On the other hand, stockpiling of chemicals has to be done responsibly, Kayfish said, noting there will be shortages if every city in the country started buying a year’s supply of all the chemicals they need.

Another key area to look at is emergency services where, for example, firefighters and first responders may have to help transport people infected by the virus.

“They are commonly dealing with potentially infectious diseases, some of which are much more virulent than COVID-19 is,” Kayfish said. “But, given the potential of a widespread pandemic, they are reviewing all those procedures.”

In case of an emergency, it would be Interior Health that takes the lead and the City will do whatever is required to help, he said.

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