July 11, 2018 7:49 pm

Ground broken for water improvement project in Kelowna

Federal, provincial and municipal politicians gathered on Wednesday at a ground-breaking ceremony for the first phase of a water improvement project in Kelowna.

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A ground-breaking ceremony was held in Kelowna today for a multi-million dollar project that will improve water quality in the city’s southeast district.

The multi-year project involves separating agricultural and domestic systems in southeast Kelowna and providing a sustainable water supply for agriculture in South Mission. The federal government is providing $26.45 million while the provincial government is providing $17.457 million for the project through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The City of Kelowna says its costs will be $19.1 million.

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran speaks during the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday.

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“It’s not every day that we receive $44 million from our government partners,” said Kelowna mayor Colin Basran. “I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for acknowledging this essential need in Kelowna and for committing to help ensure our citizens have safe clean drinking water for a rapidly growing population and a resilient and redundant water supply system to meet all our water needs in the face of climate change.”

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According to a press release, the work will improve the city’s core south-end water infrastructure with upgrades to its two main pumping stations, increased reservoir capacity and the installation of a larger diameter transmission main. A new separated water distribution system will also be created to provide South East Kelowna Irrigation District residents with year-round clean water and improve storage capacity.

Once complete, the project will provide cleaner drinking water to almost 2,000 households in Southeast Kelowna and bring the City into early compliance with Interior Heath’s 2025 clean drinking water mandate.

“The beginning of this project marks a huge step forward in bringing high-standard water services to all Kelowna residents,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr. “The water integration project will improve the quality of water for thousands in South Mission and southeast Kelowna and create a more efficient sustainable water system that can meet the needs of B.C.’s fastest growing community well into the future.”

“I am very pleased to celebrate the start of this important water system project in Kelowna, a major initiative to improve water services and water quality for Kelowna residents,” said Amarjeet Sohi, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The Government of Canada recognizes that investing in water infrastructure not only helps protect public health, but also strengthens the foundation for economic prosperity and the growth of the middle class.”

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