It’s official. The South East Kelowna Irrigation District has been given the provincial green light to complete operations to join the City of Kelowna Water Service.
The actual integration of the two water utilities is not expected until 2021, but on Monday the provincial government signed an Order in Council dissolving SEKID’s letters patent, a decision that allows for the transfer of ownership of the water system. in the city.
SEKID has been providing water in Southeast Kelowna since 1920 to domestic and agricultural customers.
With the move, Kelowna publicly acknowledges SEKID’s board of directors for working closely with it to successfully secure what it calls the ‘unprecedented’ $ 43.9 million government grant from the provincial and federal governments. granted last year to help pay for improvements to the SEKID system.
The early dissolution of the Irrigation District was necessary to secure the additional funds needed to build the first $ 85 million phase of the Kelowna Integrated Water Project.
The project will see the construction of a new drinking water system in Southeast Kelowna and the existing distribution system used for irrigation and fire protection. Construction on the three-year project is expected to start in July.
SEKID staff will move to the city’s water utility as part of the change and the actual integration of day-to-day operations with the city’s water utility will be slow over the next few years.
Day-to-day operations and customer service for current SEKID Kelowna customers will continue as usual from the Gulley Road Irrigation District office.
Meanwhile, the city continues to push for Kelowna’s other three water providers – Rutland Water Works, the Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District and the Black Mountain Irrigation District – to join its water utility and become part of the system. integrated city water supply.
Recently, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said he expects the three holdouts to end up joining the city’s public service.
Basran said he based this expectation on the province requiring that any infrastructure grant for an irrigation district in British Columbia be applied for through the local municipality in the district. Kelowna has made it clear, it won’t do it for a water supplier unless it joins the city’s water system.
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