A young man stands inside one of the wooden flumes that made up the original Westbank Irrigation District water supply system.
In 1922 pioneers decided that utilities should be created to best manage water, particularly for irrigation, in the Westbank area.
One group of pioneers formed the Westbank Irrigation District in June of that year (to view letters patent, please click here). Soon after the Powers Creek Water Users Community was created by another group of settlers to serve an area southwest of Powers Creek. Both organizations diverted water from Powers Creek into flumes, ditches and pipes, and both had licenses on upland storage for augmenting the natural flow during the irrigation season. Eventually, the Powers Creek utility merged with the Westbank Utility, leaving the Westbank Irrigation District as the sole provider of water for Lower Glenrosa, Westbank and Smith Creek. Westbank Irrigation District was also considered an area improvement district, operating a cemetary as part of its operations.
On December 07, 2007 voters chose to incorporate and form a new municipality on the Westside. The letters patent for the new municipality, which would later be called the District of West Kelowna, stated that the Westbank Irrigation District was to dissolve by December 31, 2010 and its operations folded into the municipality. The District of West Kelowna took responsibility for the Westbank Service Area on January 1, 2011.
To read a Capital News article about the history of the Westbank Irrigation District, click here.
SERVICE AREA PROFILE
The Westbank Service Area supplies water to approxiamtely 385 hectares of farmland and more than 5,000 residences and businesses, serving an estimated 13,000 people. Annual water demand averages 5,300 mega litres, with approximately 70 per cent of water supplying residential and commercial users and ther remaining 30 per cent going to agricultural customers.
The source of water supply is the Powers Creek Watershed, which includes six upland storage reservoirs:
Water is also diverted to these storage reservoirs from a small section of the Lambly Creek Watershed, which serves the District of West Kelowna's neigbouring Lakeview Service area. Westbank stores are also supplements with a limited amount of diversion from the Nicola River Watershed.
Reservoir stores are diverted to Powers Creek to an intake located just north of the Powers Creek Treatment Plant, where water is filtered, chlorniated and put through an ultraviolet dissinfection system.
A glimpse inside the operations centre at the Powers Creek Treatment Plant
In early 2005, Westbank ratepayers approved borrowing $11 million towards the construction of the Powers Creek Water Treatment Plant. The facility was designed by Earth Tech (Canada) Inc. and constructed by Maple Reinders Inc. Construction began in October 2005 and was substantially complete 17 months later in February 2007 at a cost of $18.1 million, which was $500,000 below budget. This enabled the Westbank Irrigation District to add an ultraviolet dissinfection system to the plant, providing a third level of water treatment at the facililty. The system brought the overall cost of the plant to $18.7 million.
The plant was commissioned in March 2007. It was officially unveiled to the public two years later after the ultraviolet dissinfection system was up and running.
The treatment plant employs state-of-the-art In-Filter Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) to produce safe, clean drinking water that meets or exceeds the federal and provincial water quality guidelines and standards. The 54 mega litre/day facility utilizes coagulation, clarification, and filtration to produce water designed to have a turbidity of less than 0.3 NTU throughout the year.
Since 2003, sprinkling regulations have been implemented in the Westbank Service Area. This initiative alone reduced consumption by approximately 15 per cent.
Further conservation efforts included the implementation of a water metering system, which came into effect in 2007. Water metering is expected to reduce consumption by a further 15 per cent.
For more information on conservation and conservation tips, please click here.
If you have questions, concerns or would like more information regarding the Westbank service area, please contact the District of West Kelowna's Utilities Department at: