Letters

Water plan history detailed

Master Water Plan 2002 (MWP 2002) was produced 12 years ago. It was going to revolutionize our water distribution system. The plan recommended total separation of domestic and agricultural water.

MWP 2002 would have cost water customers $72 million ($5,040,000 annually for a 20-year period). No need for the Duteau Plant as all crops would have been irrigated with raw water. Only one treatment plant would be needed..

Two years later MWP 2002 was basically trashed. Addendum 2004 was produced.

This Addendum was a total reversal of MWP 2002. It was a return to the old VID model with mixed domestic-irrigation water delivered in the same pipe. The irrigation water was now more expensive. The $28-29 million Duteau Plant’s annual debt servicing cost is about $2 million. Treatment cost in 2011 at Duteau Creek was $1.7 million (for a combined annual cost of $3.7 million). Domestic customers only used about 1.5 million cubic metres in 2011 of this expensive water. The remaining 80 per cent of domestic water was supplied by the Mission Hill (MH) plant.

The MH treatment plant was upgraded to double its capacity and provide additional treatment by way of ultra violet irradiation. Cost of the upgrade was $7.5 million (annual financing cost is about $525,000). In 2011 treatment costs were $625,577 for a total annual cost of $1,150,577.

Using the above figures MH water was costing about $0.25 per cubic meter, DC about $2.14 per cubic meter.

If all of the domestic water was treated at MH the total cost of treatment for all domestic water would have been about $1,600,000 instead of the 2011 combined cost of about $4,900,000.

This huge expenditure did provide some benefit to the DC customers. However, there are many more who have absolutely no benefits. I will use my situation as an example.

My water source prior to 2002 was Kalamalka Lake (KL) from the Coldstream Creek Road pump house. It provided me with chlorinated KL water for which I paid about $0.56 per cubic meter. In 2013 I paid $1.83 per cubic meter for DC water which is the same quality that I have received from KL: chlorinated DC water.

To date GVW has spent ~$67 million on MWP infrastructure. The referendum of 2004 only approved a maximum of $35 million. We spent $32 million above the approved maximum. Imagine the public reaction if we would spend 90 per cent more on the referendum-approved sport fields at the college site. They would be furious. Yet there was no public outcry about the 90 per cent over spending on the MWP referendum funding limit.

The simple reason for this overspending was the fact that there was no set plan. Requests for little projects of $2 million here, another project for $2.5 million there till we got to a point where the consultants and staff were basically stuck with the over-sized DC treatment plant. The sad thing is that the $67 million is only a down payment. The newest “plan” is proposing an additional expenditure of about $111 million. This would include two filtration plants to the tune of $57 million (judging from previous experience a whole lot more). Even with this additional investment an estimated 9,000,000 cubic meters of filtered water would be used for farm and orchard irrigation.

That is more than the total domestic consumption, all at the domestic customers expense. It would also create a triple distribution system: one for domestic use only from the MH treatment plant, one for raw water distribution to some agriculture properties and one for a mixed agriculture/domestic use. This is the system that would use the filtered water on crops. You can read more on my blog: Google search “coldstreamernews” to find it.

 

Gyula Kiss, Coldstream councillor

 

 

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