Response to Summerland-Faulder water deal

The following letter was published in the Summerland Review (link to letter)
Published: August 11, 2010

Dear Editor:

Having chosen to live in various rural regions of B.C., I believed it was the responsibility of homeowners to provide their own water, either hand dig a well, have it extensively drilled or personally transport their water.

While living in Meadow Valley, I had to both filter and boil the drinking water. Never once did I think that others miles away should fill our water needs.

People have made their choice to live in the country, both enjoying all the benefits of rural living and also bearing responsibility for their own upkeep.

Upon moving to Summerland, I was shocked to discover the impurity of our local drinking water.


Combined effort brought water deal

As I have said in the past, the wheels of government often turn slowly, however they do continue to turn. Most recently an agreement was signed between the RDOS and the District of Summerland to extend domestic water service to the community of Faulder. It was not a huge announcement, but it is most certainly a very significant and important one. If you have been following this issue, you may recall that the community of Faulder has had a number of water challenges over the past few years. Uranium in the groundwater supply necessitated the need to potentially drill a new well.

Water agreement signed (Faulder)

By John Arendt - Summerland Review Published: July 28, 2010 (link to story)

The municipality and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen have signed a memorandum of understanding for the provision of water for the Faulder area. The agreement puts the 80 residential properties in Faulder under the Summerland water system.

Faulder residents will be required to install water meters similar to those recently installed in Summerland homes and will be billed for their water use.

“This agreement is based on the principle of being a good neighbour,” said Coun. Gordon Clark.

Mayor Janice Perrino said Faulder residents need the agreement in order to provide them with a supply of clean water.

“Faulder residents have been in a crisis for quite a number of months,” she said. “This is a very minimal amount of water.”


What if we are not part of the Faulder water system (but might want to be)?

The RDOS supplies water to approximately 80 residences in Faulder through a formal service agreement. Residents within a well-defined service area (see map) agreed in 1993 to “hire” the RDOS to operate a well and provide water. In return, residents in the service area pay for all of the cost of the water system through their property taxes. These costs include capital debt repayment, operational costs, and an overhead charge by the RDOS. There are numerous residents along Princeton-Summerland Road and north of the service area who are “Faulder residents” but who are not part of the Faulder water system. These residents draw water from their own sources and, as a result, are not taxed by the RDOS for water provision. The logic behind a service area is that those who benefit from the service are taxed for its provision while those who do not benefit are not taxed.


April 2010 Faulder Newsletter


A newsletter regarding the Faulder water system was mailed to all residents of Faulder just after Easter.  You can view an electronic copy by clicking on the picture on the left.

The newsletter is in preparation for the Faulder Community Meeting:
Monday, April 12, 2010
7p.m. - 9 p.m.
Summerland Library

See also the Faulder water pages on this site and  the main RDOS website.


Update on operations and maintenance

Al Lister, who has been the Chief Water System Operator for the Sage Mesa system retired recently, as did his crew currently consisting of Jim Grasswick and Frank Lamberty.  As a result, the Water Stewardship Division of the provincial Ministry of Environment (the entity that runs, but not owns, the Sage Mesa water system) had to find a water operator with the necessary level of training and certification.

Initially, the Province went to the City of Penticton to negotiate a maintenance contract similar to the one between Penticton and the West Bench Irrigation District.  This made some sense to me, at least as a short term measure, since the Penticton is close by and is already dispatching trucks up the hill for the WBID contract. However, for whatever reason, Penticton chose not to take on this contract.  That left the RDOS little choice but to step in and offer its services to the province.


Faulder-Summerland deal: January 2010 update

Just a quick update regarding the Faulder water project.  I have been hearing that some private well owners in and around Faulder have been experiencing extraordinarily low water levels.  This bad news gives us a new sense of urgency to move forward with a solution.  It also gives us some confidence in the decision we made last year to seek other sources of water for Faulder.  As you may know, we received grants at the start of 2009 to acquire a deeper well and treat the water to remove uranium.  However, based on some concerns about the aquifer’s long-term viability, we are currently working on an alternative solution with Summerland to buy treated water from their water treatment plant and pipe it to Faulder (Nov 2009 presentation to Summerland Council).  Although this is far from a done deal, we are making steady progress with Summerland council and staff.