In 1922 pioneers decided that utilities should be created to best manage water, particularly for irrigation, in the Westbank area.
One group of pioneers formed the Westbank Irrigation District in June of that year. Soon after the Powers Creek Water Users Community was created by another group of settlers to serve an area southwest of Powers Creek. Both organizations diverted water from Powers Creek into flumes, ditches and pipes, and both had licences on upland storage for augmenting the natural flow during the irrigation season. The Letters Patent and this Capital News article contain more information about this district formation.
Eventually, the Powers Creek utility merged with the Westbank Utility, leaving the Westbank Irrigation District as the sole provider of water for Lower Glenrosa, Westbank and Smith Creek. Westbank Irrigation District was also considered an area improvement district, operating a cemetery as part of its operations.
A New Municipality
On December 07, 2007 voters chose to incorporate and form a new municipality on the Westside. The letters patent for the City of West Kelowna, stated that the Westbank Irrigation District was to dissolve by December 31, 2010 and its operations folded into the municipality. The City of West Kelowna took responsibility for the Westbank Service Area on January 1, 2011.
In early 2005, Westbank ratepayers approved borrowing $11 million towards the construction of the Powers Creek Water Treatment Plant. The facility was designed by Earth Tech (Canada) Inc. and constructed by Maple Reinders Inc. Construction began in October 2005 and was substantially complete 17 months later in February 2007 at a cost of $18.1 million, which was $500,000 below budget.
This enabled the Westbank Irrigation District to add an ultraviolet disinfection system to the plant, providing a fourth level of water treatment at the facility. The system brought the overall cost of the plant to $18.7 million. The plant was commissioned in March 2007. It was officially unveiled to the public two years later after the ultraviolet disinfection system was up and running.
The treatment plant employs state-of-the-art In-Filter Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) to produce safe, clean drinking water that meets or exceeds the federal and provincial water quality guidelines and standards. The 54 mega litre / day facility utilizes coagulation, clarification, and filtration to produce water designed to have a turbidity of less than 0.3 NTU throughout the year.
Since 2003, sprinkling regulations have been implemented in the Westbank System. This initiative alone has reduced consumption by approximately 15%. Further conservation efforts included the implementation of a water metering system, which came into effect in 2007. Water metering is expected to reduce consumption by a further 15%. Visit our conservation page for more information.