We're taking action to

ensure water
for tomorrow.

And for future generations.

Challenges

This is Osoyoos. Our home. A land of breathtaking beauty and friendly neighbours. Our town is blessed with so many natural gifts it’s easy to understand why we’re growing. But with growth comes one of our biggest challenges: water.

Water Quality

A recent update to the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines has changed the standard for the acceptable level of Manganese, a mineral, in tap water. We need to upgrade our water treatment capabilities to remove Manganese to meet these new requirements.

Water Demand

Osoyoos is growing and alongside that growth comes increased water usage. Our current water production facilities are nearing their limits and additional capacity needs to be built.

Water Conservation

Osoyoos does not have universal water metering, which is a key component of a water conservation plan. Metering is also important in identifying system leaks to minimize waste.

Initiatives

The Town of Osoyoos is committed to a multi-year plan to upgrade our water production, treatment and delivery to ensure adequate water capacity and water quality for today and tomorrow.

System Maintenance

To ensure that the community is provided with high quality drinking water, the Town has implemented industry best practices and maintenance programs.

Operational Improvements

To help meet our growing water demand the Town will be improving operations by investing in resources.

Infrastructure
Upgrades

To ensure water capacity, the Town will begin investing in infrastructure improvements to maintain adequate supply, now and for the future.

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We’re raising our water standard and we need your help to improve:

System Maintanence

Reservoir cleaning and water main flushing.

Why: This is being done to ensure water quality by removing a build-up of minerals that naturally precipitate from our water. Over time, these minerals can build up in our pipes, restricting the flow of water and causing issues with water delivery and equipment operations.

How: The Town will perform a series of unidirectional water main flushes to remove the mineral build-up. We will also use a special-purpose robotic cleaner to sweep the reservoir.

Possible damage to older pipes and equipment can occur during this process, creating water outages, but our team will be on immediate alert. You may also see some discolouration in the water coming from your taps during this process. If you notice discoloured water coming from your tap, we advise that you run your cold water for approximately 15 minutes until the water clears. Avoid washing clothes during this time. Additional protections, such as water quality advisories or boil water notices, may be required to ensure public health. This will be determined in cooperation with Interior Health (IHA) as system maintenance progresses.

In the near future, the Town will also need to ensure that our water quality will continue to meet Canada’s Drinking Water Guidelines. Read more about this under Water Supply further down.

Water Demand

Before 2024, the Town will begin investing in resources to improve operational practices for the long-term.

Why: This is being done to help us handle the increased water demand and reduce the amount of wasted water—which will allow us to apply for federal grants for infrastructure improvements— reducing the costs for ratepayers.

How: Operational Practices will be improved with new policies and procedures. Additional team members will be required to handle the increased demands from expanded infrastructure and more intensive operational practices. A build up of capital reserves will allow investment in required infrastructure expansion. Implementation of a Water Conservation Plan will help us reduce the burden on ratepayers through grants from senior levels of government. However, in order to qualify for these grants, we need a water conservation plan in place— which includes water meters to help decrease the amount of excessive water use.

To keep our town safe and thriving we need to address the water demand issue now. If we reduce our usage by 15%; we can avoid another well and additional water treatment facility for another 20 years.

A hose spraying water displaying a graph representing a 15% reduction in water usage can avoid another well and water treatment facility for 20 years.

Water Supply

2024 Onward, the Town will begin investing in infrastructure improvements.

Why: This is being done to ensure water capacity during peak water demand and for future generations in Osoyoos.

How: There are a number of paths our utility expansion may take. The level of investment is directly impacted by our ability to implement a water conservation plan. The lower our water usage, the less expensive this expansion will be. For example:

Option A - with a Water Conservation Plan: $11.3 Million.
Construction of a Water Treatment Facility to treat the water from our 5 existing wells. This treatment plant would ensure our water fits within Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines. This option is only viable if we can reduce our water usage and defer the construction of additional facilities.

Option B - without a Water Conservation Plan: $18-20+ Million.
If our water usage continues to grow, we will be forced to source and develop additional water production facilities and the construction of a larger water treatment plant to handle non-metered flows.

“Water usage in Oliver dropped by 40% after they installed water meters. This allowed them to defer expensive infrastructure upgrades by extending the useful life of their existing water utilities. ”

Steve Underwood, TRUE ENGINEERING

The combined cost, paid for 100% by ratepayers in Osoyoos, should the Town need to fund the full cost of these capital improvements:

A glass of water with the text $18+ million and a caption of: "An increase of $231 on your annual water bill"

However, if we can get approved for provincial and national grants—which entails first having an approved water conservation plan (which would require implementing universal water metering)-the projected increase on your annual water bill falls to only:

a water meter with a $72 bill
* Calculations provided by True Engineering

Universal Water Metering

The total budget for installing water meters throughout the Town of Osoyoos is $4,704,000. In order to fund the meter installation, we have two options available to us. Option 1 sees us borrowing the full amount while Option 2 uses existing cash reserves to partially fund the project.

Cash from Reserves Borrowed Amount Increase to User
Option 1 $0 $4,704,000 $100
Option 2 $2,704,000 $2,000,000 $43
*Borrowing $4,704,000, the annual debt payment would be $602,726.
*Borrowing $2,000,000, the annual debt payment would be $256,261.
These calculations are based on borrowing at 4.09% over a 10 year period.

How can you help?

Be patient. We’re all in this together, and we must all work together to make Osoyoos a water-smart community. There will be short-term challenges, but these steps must be taken as we set the foundation for a better future.

Be Water Smart. Reduce your water usage and show your support by pre-registering for your water meter installation.

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A water conservation plan will not only reduce our water use but will also help prevent excessive water rate increases now and in the future. This plan will further support the Town with Federal and Provincial grant applications for infrastructure upgrade opportunities.

Watch the video to learn more.

Still have questions?

Check below for commonly asked questions. If you don’t find your answer there, submit a new one and we’ll add it!

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Do I have to pay for water meters?

Your new water meter will not need to be purchased and installation fees are not required.

Is the water safe to drink right now?

The Town of Osoyoos water system continues to meet all the requirements of the Drink Water Protection Act and Regulations as well as Guidelines for the Canadian Drinking Water Quality with the exception of Manganese.

Where is the next well site going to be?

The Town is in the process of determining potential well sites on both the east and west side of the Lake. We have engaged a Hydrogeologist to start the review process.

What is water treatment and how will it remove the manganese?

Water treatment is the process to remove organic and/or inorganic materials from water. Manganese is removed by filtration.

People are confused with what the lagoons are and think it is a Water Treatment Plant. Provide explanation.

The facility located at the Osoyoos Golf Course is the community’s sanitary sewer treatment plant. Wastewater collected from homes is transported via pump stations to the wastewater treatment plant where it is processed to remove solids and treated for harmful pathogens. It is then discharged as irrigation water for the Golf Course. This is not a water treatment plant for drinking water.

Why does my water turn brown?

This is the result of chlorine reacting with minerals in the water distribution system.

When are we getting meters and what will the rate for water usage be?

The installation of water meters is budgeted for implementation in 2023 and will take a couple of years to fully install. Rates have not been determined at this time.

What are the health risks to manganese?

How do water meters help with conservation?

Water becomes a user pay commodity and users pay for the amount used instead of a flat fee for unlimited water use.

Is drought something that we should be concerned with?

Yes it is. Drought conditions can affect communities and individuals in many different ways. Drought can lead to reduced water availability for household and business use. Lower streamflows may cause warmer river temperatures, affecting fish and other aquatic life. Low streamflows can also have an impact on groundwater levels.

In British Columbia, drought may be caused by combinations of insufficient snow accumulation, hot and dry weather, or a delay in rainfall.

How can we go from flooding to drought in the same year?

A drought is a period of time when an area or region experiences below-normal precipitation. The lack of adequate precipitation, either rain or snow, can cause reduced soil moisture or groundwater, diminished stream flow, crop damage, and a general water shortage.

Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods can happen during heavy rains, when ocean waves come onshore, when snow melts quickly, or when dams or levees break

Who do I contact about my brown water?

The Operational Service Department at either 250.495.6213 or pubworks@osoyoos.ca

Where would I get updates about water quality?

Town of Osoyoos website and Town of Osoyoos E-news.

How would I know if my property is on a boil water advisory?

Town will hand deliver notices to affected properties.

Town of Osoyoos website and Town of Osoyoos E-news.

Why is it taking so long for my water to clear up?

We encourage all water users to contact the Operational Services Department when they notice that they have brown or discoloured water.

The Operational Service Department at either 250.495.6213 or pubworks@osoyoos.ca

Is the water safe to drink?

The Town of Osoyoos water system continues to meet all the requirements of theDrinking Water Protection Act and Regulations as well as the Guidelines forCanadian Drinking Water Quality with the exception of Manganese.

Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Is the Town going to pay for my replacement water filters?

No, the Town of Osoyoos has statutory immunity for nuisance claims arising from water, sewer, drainage, and roads as stated in Section 744 of the Local Government Act.

What is Manganese?

Manganese is an essential nutrient found naturally in the environment. It can be present in: air, food, water, soil and rocks.

What is the benefit of signing up early to have my meter installed. Will I be charged a user fee right away as opposed to the current flat rate?

Pre-registering for your water meter shows your support for water conservation efforts in our community. You will not be billed until the metering program is completed and the system is online.

I live part time in a 35 townhouse complex. will I have my own water meter, or will I have to share in the cost of 34 other units with about 20 residences being full time?

No, the Town will be looking to implement a One Meter, One Property approach to metering.

We have a fairly new house. Would a water meter have been installed when it was constructed? How do I find out?

Most new construction is outfitted with a water meter, the meter would be located in the vicinity of the buildings main water shut off, near the point where the water service enters the building.

What is the manganese value mg/L presently in Osoyoos water system?

We have three wells that produce manganese at approximately 0.10 – 0.15 mg/L while two other well sites produce significantly lower concentrations.

I have a newer house with water meter installed as per Osoyoos Building Requirements. Will I be reimbursed for my or will I be paying for everyone else's meters via Taxation?

We have three wells that produce manganese at approximately 0.10 – 0.15 mg/L while two other well sites produce significantly lower concentrations.