LETTER: Water shutoff concerning

Let’s look at about how much you will need to have on hand to survive the Great Summerland Water Shut Down.

Dear Editor:

Most people do not realize how much water we consume each day, so let’s look at about how much you will need to have on hand to survive the Great Summerland Water Shut Down next March.

Based on Okanagan Basin Water Board data the average indoor per person use of water is around 150 litres per day, and that amounts to a total of 450 litres per person for the three-day shutdown. The average household in Summerland has 2.36 people, so the three day total required per household for this model is 1,062 litres or 233 gallons.

The average bathtub can hold about 190 litres, and if used for toilet flushing only based on a 10-litre average of new and old fixture flush usage, you will get a total of 19 flushes from a tubful. Each person averages five flushes per, day and at 2.36 average people per residence, that totals 11.8 flushes per day. So you can see that a tubful of water will only do the average household 1.6 days, or around half of the shutdown period.

This is a model based on averages of use and capacities relevant to the Summerland situation. Even if we cut our consumption by half you will still require 117 gallons weighing 1,170 lbs. The math for a family of four or five gets shocking.

The District of Summerland put out an email addressing the situation and stated they will be “providing tips and ideas” regarding conservation measures at a later date, but it is hard to imagine what they are going to offer that would greatly relieve these circumstances. By the email’s tone, however, it would seems that they hadn’t given the collateral consequences of the shut down much thought before deciding to go ahead.

How business is going to operate is a mystery. With no relief you may well have to shop ahead of the shut down as well.

The current system design, which was approved by WorkSafe BC at the time it was constructed, would allow for this maintenance without a shutdown, but WorkSafe BC has since rewritten regulations that now triggers the need for shutdown. Perhaps this could be an area of easement where special safety measures for this specific exercise might be accomplished with the right level of authority involvement, read political, because of onerous consequence to citizens, would allow the project to proceed without shutdown.

One aspect of concern is the fire situation. The letter states that “water will be carried on all fire engines” but realistically this would only last for a short time with no capability of delivering adequate water volume in the case of full fire involvement.

If I have a house fire, will my insurance be valid? Insurance companies are big on raising rates and avoiding claims.

We have an odd situation in the making. Can you recall ever having heard of anything similar to this in your lifetime? Just a three day water shutdown?

Roy Roope