Concurrently with the development of the WQIP, SEKID worked with the Kelowna Joint Water Committee (KJWC), Interior Health and provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (CSCD) to develop the 2012 Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan (KIWSP). SEKID’s WQIP is included in the KIWSP. The KIWSP, along with an Implementation Agreement between the City of Kelowna and the four major water suppliers (BMID, GEID, RWW & SEKID), was adopted by all five water utilities in agreement with CSCD in March of 2013.
The City of Kelowna subsequently withdrew its commitment to the KIWSP and Implementation Agreement in the fall of 2014.
The primary motivation for the five major water utilities to participate in the KIWSP was for the four improvement districts to become eligible to receive infrastructure grant funding without the province requiring amalgamation into the City of Kelowna. The province had a long standing policy that improvement districts are eligible to apply for grant funding programs with the condition they must amalgamate into the local regional district or municipality if the application was successful.
After careful review of the unique water servicing requirements of the City of Kelowna, the Minister of CSCD considered an exception to that policy and defined criteria which, if met, the amalgamation policy would not apply and grant funding of water quality improvements could be received by the four districts in cooperation with the City of Kelowna. The minister also made it very clear that an open and transparent governance review would be required once the technical challenges of improving water quality were complete and interconnection of the water systems moved forward.
The minister also recognized that administrative and operational coordination and flexibility were an integral part of a successful integration of the water systems in the long term. In addition to prioritizing water improvement projects for grant funding, the implementation agreement also provides guidelines for harmonizing operational and administrative procedures to facilitate the flexibility needed for integrating water systems over time. The Implementation Agreement and correspondence from the minister(s) regarding grant funding eligibility requirements are provided below:
Kelowna Joint Water Committee, March 2013. 2013 Implementation Plan: Kelowna Integrated Water Supply Plan.