Southeast Kelowna residents upset with sudden water restriction

Click to play video: 'Southeast Kelowna residents shocked with sudden water restriction' Southeast Kelowna residents shocked with sudden water restriction
Southeast Kelowna residents shocked with sudden water restriction – Jul 23, 2020

Many Southeast Kelowna residents are not happy with the city after it implemented stage three water restrictions.

“The temperature has really risen, we’ve found that our potable water has struggled to keep up,” said Kevin Van Vliet, utility services manager with the City of Kelowna.

“Last Friday we issued a stage three water restriction.”

The restriction limits residents to watering their lawns and gardens only once per week.

The water restrictions cover an area of Southeast Kelowna stretching from Crawford to McCulloch roads.

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Restrictions are in place due to leaks in about 20 per cent of water connections from the city pipes to the private homes, according to the city.

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Ty Spence says his cedar trees and lawn have already been affected.

“Take a look, it’s starting to die already,” said Spence, a Kelowna resident whose property falls into the water restricted area.

The restriction was a shock to the residents considering the city has spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading the water system the past two years.

“It came out of the blue,” said Spence.

“There was no prior discussion.”

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“It was very unexpected and it was very confusing as well,” said Shea Nickolson, another upset resident.

“The rest of the city has no restrictions.”

Nicholson says he just invested in his property before the restriction was imposed..

“Brand new turf and plants are all going to die and who’s going to pay for that? Am I going to have to pay for it all again?” Nicholson told Global News on Thursday.

The city says stage three restrictions were imposed due to leakage and excessive water use.

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The city says the project is still ongoing — thousands of residents have been added to the water system, many with large yards. 

It says the priority is for homes to have clean water for drinking and cleaning and to have a little left over for fire protection.

“It came on very short notice, and we certainly are apologetic to our customers. It was an urgent situation,” said Van Vliet.

The city says it’s doing everything it can to quickly downgrade the restriction to at least two days of watering per week, but when that will happen is yet to be determined.

Van Vliet did say residents have no restrictions on watering with hand-held watering cans.

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