Water management will be a role that falls increasingly on the township of Spallumcheen as water quality demands grow beyond the resources of independent water districts. Photo credit: Contributed

Water management will be a role that falls increasingly on the township of Spallumcheen as water quality demands grow beyond the resources of independent water districts. Photo credit: Contributed

Spallumcheem faces ‘water business’ role

Township pursues water sustainability plan grant

The Township of Spallumcheen will apply for a $10,000 grant to assist with creating a strategic plan to preserve long-term water security for the community.

Consultant Urban Systems has submitted a $39,995 proposal to develop a long-term sustainability plan for the water systems it currently oversees.

Along with the provincial government grant, Spallumcheen council is pursuing other funding options.

The township currently administers five water systems—Pleasant Valley, Hankey, Round Prairie, Stepping Stones and Silver Star—and has some 14 different water districts within the municipality.

The desire of Spallumcheen council to pursue the water sustainability plan comes after the City of Armstrong recently updated its water master plan, which indicated there is insufficient source water to increase the supply to the city’s water districts beyond current demands.

Related: Spallumcheen not alone on water sustainability

Mayor Janice Brown said the grant application is one of many steps leading Spallumcheen “into the water business.”

That need is driven both by the B.C. government’s desire to amalgamate existing water districts under municipal water system management and water districts lacking the resources to continue to meet Interior Health water quality standards.

“That was kind of the situation with Silver Star’s water district. We took it over because they couldn’t find anyone to serve on the board. There is a bit of a liability issue there for board members of water districts but it’s also the increasing demands on the infrastructure requirements that become taxing.”

Spallumcheen backed out of the water business after a referendum was rejected 15 years ago to amalgamate all the water districts and become part of the township’s water system.

“We all know where this eventually is going so we need to start taking the steps now to document all the information out there so as get more involved in the water business, to do the groundwork necessary to be in a position to know what infrastructure we need and where we need it.

“The feds right now are offering two-third funding for infrastructure improvements.”