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Posted on: October 13, 2016

Drinking Water Solution Helps While Quality Advisory Continues

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2016

Free Bulk Water Made Available to All West Kelowna Water Customers

Free water is now available to all West Kelowna water customers, through a bulk filling station at Shannon Lake and Asquith Roads. Water from the station is treated via the state of the art Powers Creek Treatment Plant, which uses methods including filtration, UV radiation and chlorination.

At the October 11 meeting, Council directed staff to refit the station to allow all water customers to access free water. The new tap is located on the Asquith Road side of the station. Containers are not provided. Users are asked to bring their own containers, and hoses if needed, and ensure they are clean and suitable for potable water. The free access is granted for the duration of the current water quality advisory impacting the Lakeview Water System, which is the result of an unprecedented and continuing algae bloom in Rose Valley Reservoir.

The bulk water station opened in May 2013 and was built as means of providing contractors an alternative to using municipal hydrants. Residents without access to a municipal water system were also able to sign up for a fee to obtain water.

Staff is expecting that the higher-than-normal Rose Valley Reservoir algae blooms, which are a prime contributing factor to turbidity, will dissipate in the near future as colder weather sets in and water clarity will soon thereafter return to normal. Algae blooms occur often in Rose Valley Reservoir but never to this degree in the thirty plus years of data monitoring. The contributing factors to the 2016 algae bloom are many, primarily including an extremely warm spring, followed by a wet summer. Other factors are alluded to in a presentation made to Council on October 11. The webcast can be viewed at: www.westkelownacity.ca/webcasts (Click on Webcast Archives and then Item 6: Presentation from Heather Larratt, Larratt Aquatic).

Council has also directed staff to look into options that might allow the city to build a Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant sooner than the currently forecast 2022. Solutions will depend on the City of West Kelowna receiving substantial grant funding and/or using water reserves and significant borrowing, with system users covering the interest and principal charges. Both options will require increases in customers' water rates. At Council's direction, staff will proceed imminently to apply for grant funding.

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