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.