Lake Country will apply for a large grant from the provincial and federal governments for a nearly $7 million project to improve water capabilities in the district.
The district is seeking two-thirds funding for the project under the Building Canada program which splits funding on projects between the federal and provincial governments as well as the municipality, with each level of government putting in one-third of the money.
The current application, which will be submitted to to the program by the end of April, is the district’s top priority project and fits into Lake Country’s water master plan.
“This is a top priority project,” said infrastructure services manager Greg Buchholz.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the only (priority) but this would be our top priority right now.”
The project is for construction of a treated water reservoir to be located at Lake Country’s Eldorado site off of Beaver Lake road, the site of the district’s raw water reservoir, which was constructed from 2006 to 2009.
The current project also calls for a booster station near Okanagan Lake that would connect the Okanagan Lake water supply with the Beaver Lake supply and pump water from Okanagan Lake to the treated water reservoir.
“We built the raw water reservoir and that accomplished a couple of significant things: It allowed us to balance our (water) feed with our demand and to keep water in an upper reservoir to ensure we have water available,” said Buchholz.
“But having a treated water reservoir is vital as well because that provides for storage at that location and ultimately when we put a water treatment plant in place, we need to be be able to store treated water. There are a lot of benefits and really, its a precursor to putting in the water treatment facility.”
Beaver Lake currently supplies about 60 per cent of the water to the district, which also gets water from Okanagan Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Oyama Lake. The booster station would provide the district with the ability to stop drawing from Beaver Lake if the water quality gets too poor and gives Lake Country an improved water system in times of drought or forest fires.
“This really provides for a robust water supply for the community,” said Buchholz. “Not many communities have that luxury. If they lose their water source, they are out of water.”
Design work on the treated water reservoir and booster station is already underway at the District of Lake Country.
However the project will rely on the grant money in order to proceed and Buchholz says if they are not successful, they will wait for the next grant opportunity.
“We would pursue a grant opportunity again (if this one is unsuccessful),” he said.
“The financial strategy does relay on grants. In this instance, at some point we would have to pull the trigger without the grant but it would take a number of years to get the money in place to do so.”