Saturday, February 25, 2017

GVW Plans Three Water Lines?

Three?  Three?

First things first.

Anyone who has even the remotest memory of the SAC meetings and any aspect of Master Water Plan 2012, along with its predecessors and draft successors will recall bureaucrats loudly admonishing then-GVAC-advisory committee member and Coldstream councillor Gyula Kiss on his suggestion of the feasibility of water license transfers.

Time and again (and again), staff stated (a) water license transfers were not allowed.
That position eventually morphed into (b) water license transfers "would be very difficult".

Water consultants contradicted bureaucrats and warmed to the transfer idea, stating:

"Potential transfers of BX Creek, Coldstream Creek and other small licenses (internal water basin transfers) are certainly feasible.  License amendments would be required, including processes required to minimize environmental impact, and demonstrate the water balance afterwards is viable.  Significant capital investment would be required to divert this water to Kalamalka Lake.  This water, however, could easily be supplied (transferred) to Okanagan Lake.
Similarly, the transfer of water from the reclaimed water system under the City of Vernon Liquid Waste Management Plan could also assist in obtaining these transfer approvals."

Doesn't sound "very difficult" to this observer, and other folks agree.

Besides, no water customer is a stranger to "significant capital investment", having been pummeled by GVW's heavy hand year after year.

So is GVW proceeding with plans to transfer water licenses?
Not a word from much for their desire to improve communications with water users!

Could it be that bureaucrats have forgotten what was discussed during two Technical Advisory Committee Meetings?

"...if we were to transfer licenses from
 Coldstream Creek and Deer Creek
 via Coldstream Creek,
 we could cover our needs until 2045."
 TCM Aug.16,2012

Just to jog the "GVW memory", the August 16/12 TAC meeting: 
  • Buying back ag allocations, and whether they should be added to domestic or agricultural inventory.  The consensus was agriculture.

  • Large volume of UFW (unaccounted for water).  In 2011, GVW billed for 6,348 ML (megalitres), yet more than 8,200 ML were produced at Kalamalka.  It is impossible to determine how much of the Duteau water was for domestic purposes but the total treated water was 13,375 ML.  Reducing losses would reduce requirements for treated water.
 (1 ML = 1,000 m3 = 1,000,000 litres)

  • If Coldstream Creek and Deer Creek licenses were transferred via Coldstream Creek, we could cover our needs until 2045.
"...minor transfers of 10 m3 per second could be allowed,
equating to 864 ML per day!
We only need 1-2 ML per day from a license transfer!"

Note:  The Drinking Water Protection Act does not allow major transfers between watersheds.  However, minor transfers of 10 m3 per second could be allowed in special circumstances.  That could equate to 864 ML per day, and our meager need of 1-2 ML per day should not break the bank.
  • Discussions held on various ways to save water and minimize demand increases.
 "...alarming that in 2012,
 THMs in Duteau water samples
 exceeded samples from Kal Lake
 by 2.5 times!"

  • Trihalomethane (THM) sampling data was presented.  Alarming that in 2012, trihalomethanes in Duteau water samples exceeded samples from Kal Lake by 2.5 times!

The September 13, 2012 TAC meeting, at which TM#5 was presented "Independent Agricultural System":

  • Consultants appear to be recommending a three-fold system:  (a) the existing Kal system, (b) constructing a parallel raw water delivery system strictly for irrigation and, (c) maintaining the old (Vernon Irrigation District) delivery system!  Why?  Because certain zones apparently cannot operate separately until the raw water supply to that zone is established! 
The dual system is already too expensive, and consultants are now recommending a third, all of which have an east-to-west supply line...

"Should the agricultural system become separated from the domestic supply, nonpotable water from Duteau Creek would still require a separate transmission mainline."
 "Our approach is to include an identically sized pipeline to twin the current transmission mainline. Each agricultural zone includes a separate transmission mainline component to Goose Lake."

Why is there no consideration to provide domestic water to all customers from the Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant? Yes, pumping costs would increase (due to customers above the "x"-meter elevation), but costs would certainly be lower than the costs of constructing yet another irrigation line (when one already exists!)

More than one person remains skeptical ... why eliminating Duteau Creek WTP isn't being considered, likely because it would prove $29 million for its construction was spent foolishly.  Everyone knew that DCWTP is undersized for maximum daily demand...yet it is extremely oversized for all other specifications in addition to the inferior quality of water at Duteau.

Gyula Kiss said it best:
  "It is preposterous to consider a separate line
 to deliver the raw irrigation water
 while the current line continues to deliver mixed domestic/irrigation water.

  Since the ultimate objective is to limit treatment to domestic supply,
 it is likely that eventually
 only a trickle of treated water
 will be flowing in these huge lines
 just as it does now during the winter season."
Gyula Kiss                                            

Those residents who turned down the $70 million borrowing referendum in 2014 will be interested in what GVW is planning to spend if they adopt this consulting report with its three lines.

Consultants' summary of infrastructure cost within each Ag Zone:

Did you note the table's Total?  $145,425,000.
One hundred and forty-five million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars!

A cubic Gulp!

An incredulous Gyula Kiss sums it all up:

"It appears to me that the Assumptions are wrong.
MWP 2002 correctly identified the problem being mixed delivery of domestic and irrigation water.

The current system, adopted in 2004, is the same as the old VID system was except much more expensive.

The VID system is capable of delivering irrigation water to all agricultural properties. It was designed for that purpose. What created the problem was the use of irrigation water for domestic purposes.

If we left the former VID system alone it would provide all the irrigation water to all of the agricultural customers.

What we need is a dedicated domestic system that will provide high quality water to all domestic customers. This is only difficult to achieve because we are maintaining the Duteau plant.

Yes, it's difficult to abandon a plant that cost $29 million of taxpayers’ money. 

But Duteau's value to taxpayers diminishes whatever course we take because ALL of the recommended separation projects reduce the volume of treated water produced by the DWTP.

Thus the plant that was designed to treat 160 ML per day will be producing significantly less with every separation project recommended by the report.

At the same time every separation project is a significant cost to the taxpayers.

Even now, for about 10 months of the year DCWTP is grossly under-utilized. At the same time it does not meet drinking water quality. Viewing the potential abandonment of DCWTP from this perspective shows that the loss is not significant.

We could consider the plant as a potential back up reserve in case of a plant failure at Mission Hill.

Way too much time is wasted by highly-paid consultants and staff on designing a third delivery system instead of providing estimates on total separation costs originating from the Mission Hill WTP."
 Gyula Kiss

There's a suggestion if consultants convince GVW bureaucrats to install three water lines, and it is best explained in a graphic:

"We could do worse," Kia would've said, adding "and apparently they want us to."