For the first time since Rivervale became a bedroom community back in the 1920’s, the little town originally called Columbia Park, will have a water conservation plan in place for the summer.
Read more: Ritaville, Riverside and Rivervale
Up until now, Rivervale property owners who are supplied potable water have never been subject to water restrictions.
The goal is to reduce water demand by 20 per cent in the next four years.
It’s important to note that in 2011, the water service transitioned from an improvement district (essentially a self-governing body) to a local service area of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).
Which answers the question, ‘Why now?’
“Having a clear, practical plan to conserve water in our communities is very important so we can make sure where we live is sustainable over the long term,” Linda Worley, regional director for Area B told the Trail Times.
“We want our children and grandchildren to be able to live here and enjoy clean water and healthy rivers and creeks that sustain ecosystems and people.”
The strategy, officially called The Rivervale Water and Streetlight Service Water Conservation Plan, also targets energy conservation by aiming to reduce the power-pull of streetlights by 20 per cent in four years.
“Our board of directors approved the plan at our October 14 meeting,” said Worley, who also sits on the RDKB Utilities Committee.
“The … Plan aims to reduce water demand in the Rivervale Water and Streetlight Service by 20 per cent from an average of 2017, 2018, and 2019 levels by the year 2024.”
Resource conservation in Rivervale follows suit with a plan for the Beaver Valley, and both align with the RDKB declaring a Climate Action Imperative a year ago.
“Developing and implementing this plan is one step toward meeting the commitments we made as part of that imperative,” Worley said.
“Completion of works related to the Rivervale … Plan is consistent with two of the four strategic priorities of the RDKB; exceptional cost effective and efficient services, and environmental stewardship and climate preparedness.”
Another critical point in committing to water conservation is that in order to be eligible for any federal and provincial grants to fund water systems in the RDKB, the regional district must have water conservation plans and policies in place before administration applies for that funding.
“Any funding we receive related to water systems must be for projects that improve the sustainability of water services, so we need to have a plan in place to achieve that now,” Worley said.
“We want Rivervale’s water system to be eligible for possible future grants and funding should that become available.”
Though it’s early in the game, one initiative the regional district is considering for Rivervale, is to hire a water ambassador to help implement the conservation program.
Read more: RDKB declares climate action imperative
The Rivervale Water System currently supplies drinking water to approximately 120 parcels, consisting of about 115 residential properties, and five light industrial lots within the unincorporated area of Rivervale (Electoral Area ‘B’).
The original Rivervale Water System was constructed in the early 1950’s, with its primary source of supply being an intake constructed on Hanna Creek. Additional supply sources were obtained from Dean/Durkin and McNally Springs in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those springs were utilized until the late 1990’s.
In 2003, two new wells were drilled in the vicinity of the Hanna Creek infrastructure.
In 2011, the water service transitioned from an Improvement District to an RDKB Local Service Area. Since that time, the RDKB has completed significant upgrades to the system, including SCADA control improvements, treatment building security / electrical upgrades, and recently, the installation of an Online Filtration System to meet current IHA Drinking Water Objectives.