Water protection on political agenda

Greater Vernon officials are demanding more control over protecting water sources.

Greater Vernon officials are demanding more control over protecting water sources.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has completed a source assessment of the north Kalamalka Lake intake, but director Mike Macnabb says the provincial government must do more than mandate reports.

“We have no authority to control access to the watershed. You can’t just say it’s a no-go zone,” he said. “They want us to provide good water but they don’t give us the authority to do so.”

Macnabb also points out that the government and the Interior Health Authority insist on costly upgrades to the utility but rarely is funding provided.

“What they do affects us directly and that’s the taxpayer,” he said.

RDNO will send the assessment to the provincial government and demand that its concerns be addressed.

“We are doing our due diligence but it’s time for them to step up to the plate,” said Macnabb.

The source assessment includes previous information as well as new data. It identifies potential risks to surface water.

“Once the report is done, we use it as a basis for an action plan,” said Zee Marcolin, acting general manager of engineering, of minimizing risks to drinking water.

There are 19 recommendations in the report and RDNO staff will now determine the estimated cost and time frame for each recommendation.

“Capital and operational cost and the  ability to access grants for funding the projects will be analyzed,” said Renee Clark, water quality manager, in a report.

“A work plan will be developed with Greater Vernon Water partners and stakeholders.”