May 17, 2018 7:41 pm

Bigger water bills for South East Irrigation District customers

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South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) ratepayers will soon be paying more for their drinking water.

The irrigation district, which has a long history of turbidity problems, is being taken over by the City of Kelowna.

The move is part of the provincial government’s plan to have all water purveyors join the city in order to meet water quality standards.

The purveyors who don’t join are not eligible for government grants.

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So far, only SEKID has agreed to join the city but the decision to do so comes at a price.

SEKID currently gets its water from reservoirs.

The agreement with the City of Kelowna means its future source of water will come from Okanagan Lake.

The infrastructure changes will cost $86 million.

Roughly $35 million will come from government grants and SEKID has dipped into its reserves to cover the rest of the sum, however, it is $15 million short.

The City of Kelowna has agreed to essentially loan SEKID the outstanding $15 million which will be paid back over 20 years.

As a result, SEKID estimates 2,500 of its residential customers will be paying an additional $400 or more a year on top of their current yearly water bill.

The first monthly payments begin in July.

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