Westside water utilities working together

Posted December 2005

The five major water utilities serving the west side of Okanagan Lake near Kelowna are working together to ensure a sustainable, affordable, and high-quality water resource for future generations.

The Westbank Irrigation District, Lakeview Irrigation District, District of Peachland, Westbank First Nation, and Regional District of Central Okanagan have come together to form the Westside Joint Water Committee. Brian Jamieson, manager of the Westbank Irrigation District, chairs the new committee. 

“Representatives from each of the utilities agree that this collaboration is an important step forward,” says Jamieson. “This committee will allow us to work as a cohesive group to protect our valuable water resources for future generations, while making sure our communities on the Westside remain prosperous.

“The idea of forming a water management leadership group came out of the Trepanier Landscape Unit Water Management Plan,” he adds. “It looked at the five main watersheds serving the Westside and made recommendations in light of climate change and population growth, for sustaining water resources over the next two decades.”

The Westside Joint Water Committee will champion improved water management and oversee implementation of the plan. Jamieson says, “We’ll work through the committee to develop a consensus on water management goals and develop conservation targets that can measured. The future of the economy and environment on the Westside depends on successfully addressing all water resource management issues. Failing to do that could have serious consequences for everyone.”

One of the first issues being tackled by the committee is that of water meters. The committee is considering individual member’s plans to install water meters during the next few years, with the intent of capitalizing on the overall requirement for water meters to reduce purchase and installation costs.

The regional district’s engineering department is working toward metering all its water customers. While the regional board has yet to make a final decision, it has endorsed recommendations contained in the Trepanier Landscape Unit Water Management Plan. The plan suggests that water purveyors on the Westside consider the installation of water meters to help encourage conservation, while helping their utilities better monitor water use. Should a decision be made to proceed with water meter installation in other regional district water systems, there would likely be a tiered rate system to encourage responsible water use. Customers of the Sunnyside Water System have been using water meters for several years.

For more information contact Brian Jamieson at 250-768-5154 or wid.brian@telus.net