The Province of British Columbia is investing $6 million for drinking water and wastewater treatment projects in Kelowna and Merritt, supporting the health and safety of people and the environment.
“Local governments across the province are working hard to improve or upgrade aging infrastructure so that our communities can continue to thrive,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “We are working together with the City of Kelowna and City of Merritt to ensure they have the resources they need, which includes investing in projects to protect the vital drinking water and wastewater systems people rely on.”
In Kelowna, Turtle Lake dams will be strengthened and reinforced with earthworks, and wastewater management in the Rutland area will be improved by eliminating aging septic systems. Overall, the $3-million investment in these two projects will reduce the risk of water quality deterioration in groundwater sources and Okanagan Lake.
“These projects address an urgent infrastructure need in our community,” said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. “Local governments certainly have many infrastructure upgrade needs, so it’s good news to see this investment for some much-needed work to support health and safety in Kelowna.”
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, said: “These improvements will keep our drinking water safe for everyone, ensure that we are wasting as little water as possible, and prepare us for future droughts. It’s vital that we don’t take safe and abundant water supplies for granted, and that’s why we are being proactive in making sure our water systems remain reliable in this community.”
With $3 million in provincial support, new water meters with an automatic meter-reading system will be provided for residential connections in Merritt, reducing water consumption and supporting the sustainability of local ecosystems.
“The City of Merritt is grateful to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for their continued support in helping to improve the city’s services and to implement good water conservation practices,” said Michael Goetz, mayor of Merritt. “This funding is an important first step towards protecting our future water resources.”
These projects are part of a $450-million provincial investment in critical community infrastructure to support clean drinking water, wastewater and solid waste treatment and greenhouse gas reduction through public infrastructure projects in communities provincewide. This is in addition to the one-time $1-billion Growing Communities Fund, which was provided to all 188 B.C. municipalities and regional districts to support their unique infrastructure and amenities needs.