Steve Skultety has a plan.
And what's more at $90 mil it would be a bargain in meeting our future water needs.
I have to admit that the word, "water," in the past has always conjured up thoughts of the Sons of the Pioneers warbling "Cool, Cool Water," or Jack Nicholson's movie classic, "Chinatown." in which the underlying theme wasn't Roman Polanski slicing and dicing Jack's nose, but getting water flowing into Los Angeles by any means.
And, of course, I can't forget recalling the school nurse reiterating time and again to drink eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy.
So when Skultety handed me a letter about water after church service on Sunday, I had envisioned placing it under the heading of "Letters to the Editor," and even told The Boss that he should find a spot for it in today's paper.
Then I began to re-read Skultety's plan.
He began: "A recent figure of $42 million was mentioned for water treatment, which would give us good quality water, however, it will do nothing towards increasing water supply volume. So to guarantee available water for Vernon and this valley's needs, now and in the future, we need to look elsewhere."
Where is this elsewhere?
Skultety then proposes transporting water via a pipeline from the Revelstoke Dam, which is above the 2,000-foot level to Okanagan Lake at about the 1,000-foot level.
"It would mean the cost of transporting would be nil due to the elevation difference," he emphasized.
For those not in the know, such as myself, I looked up about the Revelstoke Dam and found it is one of four dams in B.C. that regulate the flow of the Columbia River. And according to a B.C. Hydro blurb, its hydroelectric complex comprises a 175 m high concrete gravity dam in Little Dalles Canyon, a 122 m high earthfill dam on the west bank of the river, and a powerhouse in the riverbed, immediately downstream of the concrete dam.
In continuing with the letter, Skultety claimed such a proposed pipeline had definite plus sides such as:
* Prior to discharging this water into Okanagan Lake, generating power from it would eventually repay the capital invested in the project.
* An increase in the Okanagan River in summer to minimize the "salmon fry die-off" due to low flow and high-water temperature.
* Better lake level control year round.
* Increased fish production in the lake.
* Faster water turn over.
* Better cleansing and flushing effect.
* More water for food production.
Then Skultety spoke about the cost of the Revelstoke Dam to Okanagan Lake pipeline, stating it would be about $90 million for the 90 miles at $1 million a mile. Such a pricetag would be reasonable since it would be spread among users from Vernon to Wenatchee, Washington on the Columbia.
Skultety pointed out that since the Okanagan Lake is part of the Columbia watershed, the environmental hazards would be minor for there wouldn't be a mixing of different watersheds nor would there be any toxics being transported.
"In addition, our current water source could be returned to agricultural use untreated, and we could keep our valley greener and healthier."
However, there was a minus side; and Skultety pondered whether politicians would question where and who would turn on the first tap.
His letter ended on a positive note: "This pipeline would benefit the entire valley, not just Vernon, and we should act now before some private enterprise starts selling us our water because we didn't plan for our future needs. It is our opportunity to make the Okanagan Valley the Napa of the North."
Hear, hear, I'll drink to that. Water, that is.
SOME THINGS I WISH I'D SAID (But Mark Twain did and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader quoted him): "Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething." ... "Get your facts first, and then distort them as much as you please." ... "Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." ... "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." and, finally, "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."