Alert reveals communication flaws

A recent boil water advisory has flushed out the need for improved communications.

  • Sep. 23, 2011 6:00 a.m.

A recent boil water advisory has flushed out the need for improved communications.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is looking at ways to better inform the public in the wake of the alert that forced customers on the Kalamalka Lake source to stop drinking from the tap.

“Customers are not aware of where there water comes from,” said Renee Clark, water quality manager, pointing out that besides Kalamalka Lake, Duteau Creek also serves Greater Vernon.

The administration of the utility, which is run by RDNO, also didn’t help.

“Some customers were confused because they get their bills from the City of Vernon or the District of Coldstream so they thought they got Vernon or Coldstream water.”

Notices will be sent to customers clarifying their source of water.

During the boil water advisory, a variety of methods were used to let residents know about the situation including road signs, newspaper advertisements, website updates and contacting those individuals with compromised immune systems.

New road signs will be purchased and RDNO is going to work with participating jurisdictions to ensure their websites provide a link to the website for Greater Vernon’s water utility.

“We had problems with the city website. It was hard for residents to know where their water comes from,” said Clark.

The source of recent high bacteria counts in Kalamalka Lake continues to be under investigation.