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Nelson’s new emergency water supply system delayed again

The system would treat lake water to supply the lower part of the town
There is still enough snowpack in the region that a drought year for Nelson’s water supply is very unlikely, says the city’s Colin Innes. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

An emergency water supply system that was originally intended for use in the summer of 2016, then pushed back to the summer of 2017, won’t be in operation until 2018, the city’s Colin Innes told the Star last week.

“Yes, it is taking longer than we had hoped,” he said. “This is a new thing for the city. It is a different kind of treatment we are looking for, so it is taking a little longer, but at the same time we do want to get it right.”

The system will treat water from Kootenay Lake to provide drinking water for the lower part of the city – the flat part to which the water would not have to be pumped. It would kick in during hot summers like 2015 when Nelson’s water supply was threatened by drought.

Innes said the city in conjunction with the Interior Health Authority (IHA) is sampling the lake to find a spot where the water quality is suitable. Then discussions will begin with IHA about the specifications of the equipment that would provide treatment that the agency would approve.

The equipment, which would cost about $250,000, would be housed in a shipping container at the lake shore in the vicinity of the city’s operations yard at 80 Lakeside Drive. City manager Kevin Cormack told the Star last year that the cost is contained within the city’s water budget and would not result in a tax increase.

The apparatus consists of pumps, filters, and chlorine mixing equipment.

Innes said the need for an emergency water supply this summer is not urgent.

“We have been blessed with a really good snowpack this year. We are still experiencing freshet conditions and still getting the run-off of snowpack. We have about 850 mm of snow water equivalent in the snow pack still left. Last year by now that was all gone.”

The B.C. River Forecast Centre website states that as of June 15 the snowpack in the Nelson area was 136 per cent of normal.

Nelson gets its water from Five Mile Creek and secondarily from two other creeks, all of which originate in West Arm Park and are not glacier-fed but depend on annual precipitation.


Water: does Nelson have enough? (July, 2015)

Nelson to build emergency lakeside water treatment plant (November, 2015)

Nelson emergency water supply delayed a year (May, 2016)

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

Bill has lived in Nelson since 1994 and has worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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