Phase 1 of Integrated Water Project begins

The ground breaking ceremony for phase 1 of the Kelowna Integrated Water Project took place Wednesday afternoon - the first step in the City's $350-million plan to integrate Kelowna's many water providers.

The project involves combining the South Okanagan Mission Irrigation District (SOMID) and the South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) with the City's water system. Crews will be separating the agricultural and domestic water systems in Southeast Kelowna, while also providing a reliable agricultural water supply for the South Mission. After the project is complete, 2,000 households in South Kelowna will have cleaner drinking water, bringing the City closer to Interior Health's 2025 clean drinking water mandate.

"Investing in water infrastructure not only protects public health, but local economies as well," says Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi. "Efficient water systems will allow communities to be more productive, resilient, and prepared to welcome new businesses and residents." 

Phase 1 construction, which will go from 2018 to 2020, will involve upgrading the City's two main south-end pumping stations, increasing its resevoir capacity, and installing a larger diameter transmission main. These upgrades are expected to prevent frequent water quality advisories in the area going forward.

"In 2014, our citizens told us that investment to improve water infrastructure was their top priority, so Council made it our top priority," says Basran. "We committed to engaging with senior governments and irrigation districts to develop a long-term strategy that, implemented over time, would create a resilient and redundant system that meets domestic and agricultural needs for all Kelowna residents today and into the future."

Over $26-million of the $86-million project budget comes from the Federal Government's Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, which will invest over $180-billion dollars over 12 years in improving communities across the country. $17-million of the funding comes from the Provincial Government's Clean Water and Wastewater fund, while $19-million of the funding was provided by the City of Kelowna.