Real change needed in water plan

Resident questions the process being followed by the Greater Vernon Water Utility

I suppose it’s encouraging to learn from your article of June 14 that yet another water review is on tap. Personally, I would have preferred some decisions. My second choice would have been to take a blank piece of paper and have an independent consultant start afresh.

Instead, I see I will get my least druthers approach, a finagling rehash of what we voters have rejected by a two to one margin or, to be precise, by 7,918 nays to 3,999 yeas. I thought the message thus sent to the water gurus and politicos was quite clear: people want a no frills water system that is safe and reliable and does not cost twice as much as ratepayers pay in Kelowna and Penticton.

This is not rocket science.

Every community needs water and has a water utility to provide it for them at reasonable cost. Sometimes glitches occur such as at Walkerton. After all, to err is human.

Unfortunately, the North Okanagan has a murky water syndrome.

Greater Vernon takes water from far away ponds fed by another watershed that reaches us via creeks flowing through cow pastures, dog parks, farm fields and other assorted odds and sods that do not add to its clarity then spends mega bucks to make it potable before selling most of it at a fraction of what domestic users are soaked to grow food for cows. Brilliant.

One good thing about exorbitant water costs is how good that is for conservation.

Domestic ratepayers in Greater Vernon have cut back their water usage by a third to a half over the past five years depending upon the time period/data selection used; from 350 cubic meters to maybe as low as 175, certainly less than 250.

The water utility raised rates, ratepayers then used less water. That meant the water utility was not able to cover its costs. Obvious answer: reduce costs. Nope.

The water utility opted to raise base fees instead. Today, most domestic ratepayers in Greater Vernon pay more in base fees than they do for the actual metered water they use. Mind boggling, beyond belief you say, check your water bill, then weep.

The people that brought us this are now going to do an in-house review of their past recommendations and everything is going to be hunky-dory.

Yeah, right. Juliette Cunningham presides over this charade, she chairs the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. Give her a dingle or an e-mail.

Make your views known and do it now. By next year, more money will have gone down the Greater Vernon Water Utility drain as they keep plugging away doing the same old, same old.

Councillors Spiers of Vernon and Kiss of Coldstream are trying to rectify this water madness but they need your help.

Two votes are not enough to get real change for real betterment. Do your part and twist some political arms.

Jim Bodkin