Williams Lake city council is eyeing universal water metering and a water treatment plant as it plans for the future. File image

Williams Lake budgets for universal water metering and water treatment plant

Council hopes grant funding will cover most of the $5 million price tag for a metering system and $15 million-plus cost for a treatment plant

Knowing that mandatory water treatment could be coming down the pipe Williams Lake city council is putting a plan in place that includes going with universal water metering.

“We recognize the cost of a water treatment centre will be $15 million to $20 million,” said Coun. Scott Nelson, finance committee chair. “As part of that to get grant funding, there are a number of steps they like you to do to ensure you are conserving water to the best of the community’s ability.”

It would be eight years before the treatment centre would need to be in place, he added.

At its Tuesday, Dec. 11 committee of the whole meeting, council approved water metering as a budget item.

“We want to get started now because it will cost $5 million for universal water metering and if we can get 90 per cent grant funding it will save the community money, Nelson said, adding it’s a “massive” undertaking, but important.

“We are also hiring a grant writer because we will be looking for millions upon millions in grants across the board.”

Council will also be raising public awareness about water conservation by encouraging residents to change their taps and toilets and refrain from leaving hoses running for lengths of time with watering lawns.

The intent is not to begin charging taxpayers more, but when the bills go out there will be some notices outlining costs of water usage.

“We will do a phased approach to get the metres in and that will probably take about three years,” Nelson said. “Metering will help us build toward the bigger picture — the water treatment plant.”

Earlier this year the city applied for money for universal metering through a Smart Cities Challenge funding opportunity, but was not successful.

Read more: Williams Lake taps into $5 million infrastructure competition

At the time of the application Joe Engelberts, the city’s manager utilities and fleet, said city’s aquifer at Scout Island is constantly being monitored for levels and quality.

“The city has also had hydro-geologists in the past do reports on their impressions of the future of the aquifer,” he told the Tribune. “They have given the City reports that the aquifer has indeed dropped since the City started pumping water out of it in the late 60s, but it has levelled off for the past 10 years and it appears sustainable at this time.”

In 2015, communities were told Health Canada could be making stricter acceptable manganese levels.



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