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Naramata sinks plans to twin water supply
Continuing to supply Naramata agriculturists with treated water is expected to save ratepayers $3.3 million over the next 45 years, according to a new study.
The finding is contained in a report prepared by a consultant from Urban Systems, who assessed the feasibility of twinning the water system.
A twinning would have added a second set of pipes and a gravity-fed reservoir, fed by an uplands source, to supply untreated water for irrigation purposes.
At present, all of the water used by approximately 900 Naramata ratepayers is treated for human consumption.
Karla Kozakevich, Naramata director for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, presented the findings at a public meeting last week.
She said the study determined that although twinning would save money on treating and pumping irrigation water, it wouldn’t be enough to offset construction costs and other impacts.
“Most of the agriculture community does not want it,” Kozakevich said.
“Some of the (agriculture) folks have gone to more efficient water uses and a lot of them are using drip lines, and drip lines will plug with the untreated water,” she explained.
“The other thing is a couple of them mentioned they’d have a lot of trouble with the Workers’ Compensation Board if they don’t have potable water on site, and you’ve got farm workers and pickers who will drink from any hose or tap, and there could be some problems there.”
Doug Mathias, owner of the Forest Green Man Lavender farm, said he is looking forward to reading the study, but noted that good drip systems already include filters so the possibility of untreated water plugging lines shouldn’t be a concern.
“It’s not a specious argument, but it’s probably not one of the more important things you could say about it,” said Mathias.
The 65-year-old is more concerned the payback timeframe considered in the analysis is “so long it’s going to be meaningless,” while the levy he’s paid for twinning will be put towards future improvements that he won’t be around long enough to enjoy.
Kozakevich said the decade-old twinning fund has $1.2 million in it, which will now be put towards more urgent needs, like the $6.1 million worth of water mains the consultant recommended be replaced by 2019.
Ratepayers can expect to receive an information package with study results in the near future.