Water Quality and Fire Update
August 22, 2023
Much has happened since Thursday August 17th; thousands have been evacuated from their homes, many more are on notice to leave, and sadly homes have been lost. We grieve with those who have lost homes and memories that cannot be replaced. In the midst of all this, we have also once again witnessed the sacrifice and heroism from firefighters, police, and emergency response personnel...and we are thankful for them. In addition to this, help has poured into our region from all over the province and even from other countries. All the while, operating in the background and providing resources for all these valiant efforts, has been the utilities and their operators. Fortunately, Alto’s customers have been spared from the evacuation notices and orders and loss of homes. And there is good news, temperatures have dropped, and rain may be on the way.
A few of you have asked questions and so we wanted to provide an update to give you accurate information. First, Alto is not under a Boil Water Advisory. The confusion stemmed from the information bulletin sent out by the District of Lake Country on Friday August 18th stating that residents on Okanagan Lake water source have been switched to the Beaver Lake water source and since the Beaver Lake water source is currently under a water quality advisory, some have asked whether Alto is on a water advisory. To be clear, Alto is not on a Boil Water Advisory Notice. Second, Alto’s water supply is not being used for fire suppression. On Sunday, the DLC issued a reminder to customers whose property is not within the evacuation area, to turn off their sprinklers immediately as decreased pressure flows will impact the firefighting efforts. Again, this reminder does not apply to Alto customers. However, since Alto is in Stage 2 watering restrictions (see “Recent News” on Alto’s website), Alto customers should be following irrigation restrictions that can be found under the Customer Service tab.
One last item of note. Last Friday, August 18th, Alto’s customers used 23% more water than they have ever used before (previous max daily flow – 1750 m3 /August 18th daily flow – 2160 m3). There are a few things to say about this. First, Alto’s system was resilient and performed well even with the added demand. Second, the circumstances were unusual. Alto did not issue any restrictions on Friday as information and situations were changing rapidly and Alto understood that its customers were using water to reduce the risk of ignition. Had Friday’s conditions continued Alto would have asked its customers to restrict their usage in order to conserve water for firefighting purposes as the DLC did with their customers.
Check in with your neighbour...praying that the rains come.