The Village of Keremeos and the Keremeos Irrigation District have worked co-operatively through the years to bring Keremeos, and the irrigation district residents some of the best water in British Columbia. We have continually upgraded the system as we could afford, while keeping our water and irrigation rates among the lowest in British Columbia.
One big ticket upgrade that we have been working on for a number of years is the construction of a much larger reservoir. If we have a power outage, major fire, or other problems, the present system only has about five minutes of reserve capacity during peak flow periods, before we begin to lose pressure in the system. This leaves the system exposed to possible contamination with back flow from external sources.
The proposed new reservoir will increase the storage capability of the system to 45 minutes, and will greatly reduce our risks of running out of water, should one of these events occur. A number of events have come together where the irrigation district feels that now is the time to address this issue.
1) Interest rates are still at an all-time low, and (subject to residents approval), The Village of Keremeos has proposed to go to the Municipal Finance Authority, where they can get better financing rates than the Keremeos Irrigation District could get on our own. This will reduce the overall interest costs of the project, and could represent considerable savings.
2) The Keremeos Irrigation District has been budgeting additional revenue for this type of capital upgrade, and putting these funds in reserve, so this annual revenue which we already collect, will go to the village to pay for the funds that are borrowed for the project. As a result there will be no additional tax or water toll costs to the village or the Keremeos Irrigation District taxpayers.
3) Interior Health has indicated in a letter to the irrigation district, that they support this project, and the increased reservoir size will not require us to chlorinate the water system, as it is not a prescriptive requirement under “The BC Drinking Water Protection Act”.
4) The village has been able to get a $300,000 grant from the Federal Government Municipal Gas Tax revenues to go towards this project, and reduce the capital costs we have to finance. This grant was hard to get, and will likely not be available in the future for this project.
5) The Keremeos Irrigation District has been setting aside funds for these major capital projects for many years and also has about $300,000 which will be used to construct the water lines and other infrastructure to link up the reservoir to our system. This will reduce the amount of funds we will need to borrow for this project.
6) The sluggish construction market should allow us to get good competitive bids as many contractors are looking for additional work.
Other points to consider in reservoir decision
Backup power supplies (generators) are only useful during extended power outages which do not occur often. They do not address the main reason we need additional storage capacity or any other issues during regular normal operations
The reservoir is being designed to facilitate water circulation in the reservoir to insure fresh water in all parts of the reservoir. It will be 90 per cent buried and not overly visible, as well it will be fully secured and protected with tamper/vandal proof accesses
The village will need to borrow up to $955,000 to fund this project; this figure includes $200,000 as a contingency in case there are unforeseen cost increases. We will do our best to keep the project within, or below the proposed budget amount, and KID will fund the full cost of borrowing these funds on an annual basis. There will be no increase in village property taxes.
There will be a drop in open house on April 8 at Victory Hall from 4 to 7 p.m.
A referendum to approve this borrowing for Village of Keremeos residents will be held on April 27 with advance polls on April 17 and 22.
We have reprinted some information on this project which you can pick up at the Keremeos Irrigation District office on Tuesdays or Fridays, or at the village office. Also the village has made this information available on their web site at: www.Keremeos.ca.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and we encourage you to come to the open house on April 8 at Victory Hall, call us at 250-499-5651 or email us at email@example.com if you require additional information.
Kevin Huey is in the office on Tuesdays at 712-6th Ave. to happily answer any questions you may have regarding this important proposal.