A request for proposal (DP) was issued for a design plan to restore the water supply to the aquifers that feed communities downstream from Baynes Lake and Elko.
“This is an important step in this essential project and in obtaining sustained access to safe drinking water for these communities,” said Stan Doehle, director of electoral zone B of the regional district of East Kootenay (RDEK). “It’s a long process, but it’s an important step forward. “
The RFP closes July 12 and the successful proponent’s plan must be completed by November 19. The conceptual design aims to identify, assess and recommend various options for restoring the water supply to the aquifers of Lake Baynes and Elko. It will include a detailed scope of work, an estimated cost and an implementation schedule.
“Once we have a plan and these more concrete details, our next step will be to apply for the necessary permits, continue our consultation with First Nations and conduct environmental assessments,” Doehle explained. It is not yet known how long this phase of the project will take.
“In the meantime, our greatest concern is to ensure access to drinking water for the affected communities,” he added.
Therefore, RDEK is calling on the residents of Baynes Lake to do their part and conserve water by limiting unnecessary use of water outdoors and respecting voluntary watering days, with odd-numbered houses watering them. lawns and gardens on odd days and even houses watering on even days. Lawns only need to be watered two to three times a week in the early morning or evening.
“This method will keep our gardens and lawns healthy and provide green space around our homes in accordance with FireSmart principles while reducing consumption,” Doehle said. “Compliance with these watering guidelines is not mandatory; However, we are asking residents to do their part and come together until a permanent solution is in place. “
During the construction of the Elko dam, the historical course of the river was changed, which moved water away from the sinkholes that were supposed to feed the aquifer in the south of the country, unless the dam was kept at an altitude of 917 meters. Since the cessation of dam operations in 2016, the community has faced steadily declining water levels, which are now at record levels in Lake Baynes and surrounding areas.
Main picture: RDEK Electoral Sector B Director Stan Doehle (left) recently toured the area with Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka (right) to provide background and state update current of the Elko Baynes Lake Aquifer Project. RDEK photos