The Okanagan Falls Irrigation District is making a plea for funding for critical infrastructure projects.
The district needs to find funding for 17 different capital projects required to bring the water system up to current standards, which would cost approximately $4.6 million.
Despite having created an asset management plan in 2018 that has allowed the district to store some funds in reserves, it is still not close to enough to cover the high-priority projects necessary.
One of the most important projects is building a dedicated water main to the lower reservoir to reduce the levels of manganese in the lower section of the water zone, however, that project alone is estimated to cost $500,000.
Although Okanagan Falls is surrounded by lakes and streams, the water available to residents and businesses comes from underground wells. The OFID has five wells: three in the upper zone and two in the lower zone. The upper zone is not chlorinated, whereas the lower zone is chlorinated.
Future potential for further development is hindered due to the lack of current water capacity; therefore, any vision for a new and improved Okanagan Falls is not possible with the existing aging infrastructure.
“Like many smaller water systems, the OFID is facing infrastructure deficit challenges. We don’t collect or haven’t collected enough from the water payers to fund the renewal of all its infrastructure,” said Randy Perrett.
As an independent improvement district, there is no grant or government funding available.
In addition to the main water system in Okanagan Falls, providing water to over 2,200 residents, the district also looks after the Okanagan Falls Cemetery, Centennial Park and the community’s street lighting.
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