The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan (CCMWP) are extending an invitation to all Greater Vernon water users to join them for a public forum on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre.
The CCMWP will offer an illustrated presentation highlighting the need to take a fresh new look at the direction of the current master water plan (MWP).
“The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) continues to promote Duteau Creek as the main source for drinking water, but at the same time this treated water is used extensively for agricultural irrigation, resulting in the cost of residential water escalating to unacceptable levels,” said Terry Mooney of CCMWP.
“Current domestic, commercial, agricultural and recreational water bills are unsustainable, are a disincentive to new business locating in our region, and are creating a hardship for the entire water user base.
“The residents are now facing water bills that are three times the cost in Kelowna and twice the cost in Penticton.”
The group says it has identified factors contributing to the excessive costs, which will be discussed at the meeting.
The group says preliminary data suggests that the original Master Water Plan was flawed, and that choosing Duteau Creek as its water source for Greater Vernon was a mistake.
“There is significant evidence that water taken from Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake would have been much less expensive, and today’s water rates would have been substantially different,” said Mooney.
“Our group aims to ensure that the public will, as expressed by the Nov. 15 referendum, is upheld, and we are concerned that no alternative plan has been provided since the referendum defeat. It is noted that upgrades to the Duteau Creek facility continue in total disregard for the wishes of the Greater Vernon water users.”