Castlegar draws its water from Lower Arrow Lake.

The cost of water

Though Castlegar's water reservoirs are in little danger of running low, there are other reasons to follow summer water restrictions.

As it does every summer, the City of Castlegar has put water restrictions in place to help reduce the amount of water residents use, but many people in Castlegar may not understand that capping their water usage could save the city money in the longterm.

Peak usage

Usually the demand for water is four times higher in the summer than in the winter, which is why the city imposes water restrictions.

“That’s the demand we can really help control and that’s the peak that sets the demand on the whole system is the summer flows,” said Chris Barlow, the director of transportation and civic works.

Restrictions limit sprinkling and car washing to every second day, from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Residents who use a water regulating system can water between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

But this year, water levels have increased despite the restrictions.

In 2014, Castlegar used 19,710 cubic meters of water on its peak day and started reaching those levels in late July. This year Barlow says a hotter summer saw peak water use levels in late June.

Drawing from the Arrow

Castlegar draws its water from Lower Arrow Lake, sharing an intake with Zellstoff Celgar pulp mill. The City’s water splits off and is treated before being pumped into one of eight reservoirs, which are kept 80-100 percent full at all times.

Barlow explains that though drawing from the lakes means Castegar won’t run out of water, increased usage does put pressure on the system.

“Through this year we have seen times when pumping … [was] stressing the system,” says Barlow. “[But] we haven’t had to worry about empty reservoirs, other than when we have power outages because it impacts the pumping.”

Though there’s little worry about running out of water, Barlow does stress that increased usage has consequences.

“Even though we have a good water source, we’re asking citizens to conserve because it does impact our system,” says Barlow. “The distribution system can be stressed on this peak days, and plus … these peak days determine the sizing of the system.”

The size of any future reservoirs is determined by the size needed for peak days, which means that the larger the amount of water used on peak days, the more it costs to add to the system and build bigger reservoirs.

Water metering

The city is in the midst of implementing a universal metering program.

Barlow says the majority of commercial and industrial users have been metered and billed on consumption for a number of years, but there are still 213 residential meters to be installed.

Once metering is in place for all residences, the city will begin charging by usage. Hopefully paying for water will impact the amount the people of Castlegar use, and they’ll take action to keep not only their own costs, but the costs on the system, down.

 

Just Posted

Few details released after body discovered in car trunk

Police say they know the owner of the burnt-out Honda found near Genelle with a body in the trunk.

Movie filmed in Castlegar opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing at the Kootenay Centre Cinemas.

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Spike in vehicle thefts from remote parking lots

RCMP investigating half-a-dozen incidents

Castlegar weekend forecast calls for wet snow, mild temperatures

Wet snow and unseasonably mild temperatures are in the forecast for Castlegar this weekend.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Honouring our best during Minor Hockey Week

Team photos from our minor hockey association teams in Castlegar.

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read