More than $1.5 million a year is being flushed down the drain, according to a local water expert.
Gyula Kiss, Coldstream councillor, confirmed from a Greater Vernon Water response to his query that treatment costs are considerably more at the new Duteau facility compared to the Mission Hill treatment plant.
The average cost per megalitre at Duteau is $127, versus $76 at Mission Hill (Kal).
“I expected that the cost of treatment of water at Duteau Creek was significantly higher than others,” said Kiss, noting that a significant portion of that water is used for irrigation, which needs no treatment.
Kiss adds that while all of the water from Kal is domestic water, the Duteau facility produces one megalitre for $127 but only about 3,000 megalitres or less is used for domestic purposes.
“The rest is used for irrigation and needs no treatment. So the actual cost of one megalitre of domestic water at Duteau costs about $560 ($1,702,020 for 3,000) not $76 like at Kal.”
With an annual domestic need of approximately 8,000 – 9,000 megalitres, Kiss points out that if 11,000 megalitres was treated at Kal it would cost a total of $836,000. The current cost of domestic water is $2,327,597. The difference (savings) is $1,491,597.
Kiss also points out that treatment quality is better at Kal (Mission), with both UV treatment and chlorination – Duteau has only chlorination.
The solution to saving is separation, he says.
“On the basis of these results we could save almost $1.5 million annually on treatment alone.”
An even better choice for the region’s long-range water plan, says Kiss, would have been Okanagan Lake – where water quality is consistently below acceptable turbidity levels.
“If we actually went to Okanagan Lake we would be getting very cheap water.
“Unfortunately that window is now closed for us so let’s not allow another potential window from closing for us forever without thoroughly investigating the opportunities.”