FAQ

We've assembled a list of our customers' most frequently asked questions. If you don't find your answer here, feel free to contact us.

General FAQ:

 

What are my responsibilities as a water user?

  • The areas around the meters should be kept clear of all brush and debris.
  • Any pressure adjustment required or desired (boosting or reducing) is the responsibility of the user.
  • Current property owner is responsible for all Water District charges whether incurred by them selves, former owners, or tenants.
  • Toll charges for water consumption are payable within 30 days.
  • Taxes are payable by October 31st each year.
 

I've heard that the KLWD has Leak Detection equipment. Can I use it to find leaks on my property?

KLWD does have Leak Detection equipment. This is a specialized tool that takes training to use and it is designed to detect leaks in larger pipes such as water mains. It is not effective on smaller water lines such as those going to individual properties. To find leaks on your property we recommend you contact a plumber.

Billing FAQ:

 

How could I have used this much water?

You may not have - the numbers on your meter may have been transposed or hard to read. You could possibly have a leaky toilet or faucet that's difficult to detect or perhaps a broken water line.  Simply call the office and we'll work with you to solve the problem.

 

Why do I have a previous balance when I know I sent in my payment?

We may have received it after the due date or we may not have received it at all. Call our office and we will help you figure it out.
 

Has the district considered 'On-line' or electronic payment systems?

The District now accepts E-Transfers to payments@kemplakewaterworks.bc.ca. An E-Transfer payment must include the name on the property invoice and either the account number or the address. Without these pieces of information, the payment will not be credited to your account.

Rates FAQ:

 

Is it considered acceptable that residents with fixed low incomes (ie. people w/disabilities, pensioners) and families with two or more children on low-income support, could be impacted financially more (for some impoverished) by the rise in the KLWD tax

Improvement districts are incorporated public local bodies governed by a board of elected trustees. Trustees are expected to act in the best interest of the community and strive to govern in the best interests of the residents. Every ratepayer in the District has been impacted financially by the increase in taxes and tolls. To say whether this is considered acceptable or not is outside of the purview of the role of a Trustee.
 

Could a sliding rate scale based on yearly income off-set the increased burden for those who are facing economic hardship?

Improvement districts provide services such as water services for the benefit of landowners within their boundary. Revenue raised from taxes and tolls is used to meet the administrative and operating costs for providing the service with zero profit, the budget must be balanced. All costs to ratepayers is carefully calculated to cover the actual cost of providing the service and paying for the water now coming from CRD Water. Under these parameters a sliding rate scale base on yearly income is simply not possible.
 

When will the annual tax levy drop to the previous rates?

Before borrowing to pay for the CRD connection, the annual tax was $150 to operate the district. The borrowing added $305 initially for a total of $455 per household. In 2022 we were able to drop the amount required for the borrowing repayment by $30 to $275 for a total tax of $425. Once the loan is paid off the tax rate will drop though with inflation it will likely be higher than $150.
 

How many households are having difficulty paying their water bill? Their annual tax? How does KLWD deal with such accounts?

We have not had much feedback regarding personal affordability. We do have some customers that pay in smaller increments for the taxes (example $100/month) with the longer due date (approx. 4-5 months to pay). Its not something customers have to discuss with us directly so it's hard to say if that’s how they prefer to pay or if they find trouble with one lump sum.

Most water bills are relatively affordable if customers stay up to date with the bills. In some cases in the summer months we do get inquiries as to confirm the amounts are correct as usage is always up in the hotter months.

Water Delivery FAQ:

 

What do I do if I am experiencing low pressure?

Check the area between you meter and house for possible visible leaks. If leak found, repair it and check your pressure again. If no obvious leak, call our office and report low pressure for your area. If the district determines pressure is normal in your area and you still have low pressure, then you should contact a plumber to look for hidden leaks in your service line.
 

Why does the water go off without notice?

There are several reasons why water service would stop without notice.
  • Emergency repairs. From time to time portions of the system can fail causing a leak that if not fixed immediately could result in the loss of service to the entire system. This may require part of the system to be shut down.
  • Loss of supply. The system may simply be out of water. An issue may have developed with the CRD system affecting the supply of water to our district. During power outages, when the pumps are off, conserving water will extend the time before the water runs out.
  • Use of fire hydrants. Fire fighting use may reduce pressure and flow, even to the point of loss of service at the high points in the system. Flushing also affects pressure and flow. This is usually done at night to limit the impact on customers.
 

What is considered a swimming pool and what are the regulations regarding pools?

The Water Distribution Regulation Bylaw refers to swimming pools in a number of sections. Below are some excerpts from the bylaw:
  • Section 1 (6) - "swimming pool" shall mean an artificially created body of water having a depth of 18" or more used for recreational or physiotherapy purposes.
  • Section 6 (2) - … works on private property which are supplied by the District are connected to a body of contaminated water, such as a swimming pool, in such a way that, if a reverse flow were to be induced, a health hazard could result, the owner of the private property shall install and maintain a back‑flow preventer …to the approval of the District.
  • Section 7 (4) - No person shall use water for …filling of swimming pools … except by written permission of the Trustees, …stating purpose, time of use and quantity … and additional charges, if any, …and any special works required ...
To view the complete bylaw, see Bylaws under the Customer Service menu.

Our concern with swimming pools is not to prevent people from having and enjoying them, but to allow us to better manage the water demands on the system and to ensure that adequate procedures and protections are in place to prevent any contamination of the water system. Something as simple as leaving a garden hose running in a pool to top it up could lead to a back flow condition and contamination if there was a sudden drop in pressure such as a main break or a large fire flow demand.

In regard to the cost of water for swimming pools, other residents in the district tell us that they estimate the additional cost on their water tolls to be approximately $150 for the summer period for a 5000 gallon pool. This includes not only the initial filling of the pool but also the top ups needed during the season as a result of evaporation and splashing.

Water Quality FAQ:

 

What monitoring of water quality is taking place?

Bi-weekly water samples are sent in to the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) for testing. For more information and test results see our Water Quality page.
 

Why is my water discolored?

A repair could have been completed recently allowing air to enter the line, causing the discoloration.
 

What chemicals does our water system add to the water?

Only chemicals that are approved by the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality for treatment of drinking water.
 

My water tastes, looks, and smells funny. Is it safe to drink?

Public water systems are required to maintain a minimum chlorine level of 0.2 mg/L (tested at the end of each line). Our disinfectant levels are tested daily to ensure safety.
 

Why does debris come out of the faucet when running hot water?

Most likely your water heater needs to be flushed. CAUTION: Most manufacturers recommend hiring a professional to flush your water heater. If you plan on doing this yourself, read the owner's manual to keep from being hurt and or damaging the water heater.
 

Why does the water taste differently at different times of the year?

Our water comes from CRD Integrated Water Services. In turn CRD gets the water from Sooke lake. Surface water sources (i.e. lakes, rivers, streams) are susceptible to changes depending on the weather, time of year and other influences. These influences can have an effect on the condition of the water, including taste, colour and odor. Although the water conditions change, the safety of the water remains unchanged.
 

What are the procedures for boiling water for disinfection?

Check out the following two websites: Disinfecting Drinking Water and What to do during a Boil Water Notice
 

Does the KLWD have a water main flushing program?

Water main flushing is used to clean the distribution system water mains of sediments that have accumulated inside the pipe. The Kemp Lake Waterworks District flushing program is conducted on an annual basis.

Users should expect short periods of low pressure and discoloured water. Any discolouration is temporary and not a health hazard. Users are asked to minimize consumption if a change in water appearance is noticed. To clear your water lines, turn on your cold water tap until the water runs clear.

Advance Notification: Users with special requirements for clear water will receive advance warning of flushing in their area if a request to be notified is received. Call the Kemp Lake Waterworks District to arrange for an advance warning: Tel: 250-589-9864.

Kemp Lake Waterworks District accepts no liability for low water pressure, inconvenience or damages caused by water use during its flushing program.

CRD Water Connection Project FAQ:

 

Why did KLWD switch it's source of water from Kemp Lake to the CRD?

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), who controls the water district's operating permit, required us to upgrade our systems to meet their Drinking Water Treatment for Surface Supplies - 4321 Objectives.

We had a choice of constructing our own full filtration/treatment plant at Kemp Lake to meet the above requirements or connecting to CRD water which already meets the requirements.

We commissioned engineering studies to assess the conditions and potential hazards of the Kemp Lake watershed affecting the lake water and to determine what type of filtration/treatment plant would be needed to mitigate those hazards and to meet the 4321 Objectives. We also looked at the potential to connect to CRD water as an alternative to constructing our own filtration/treatment plant.

The results of these studies were presented to the land owners at a number of public meetings and feed back from the land owners was solicited as to what their preference was between the two options: our own treatment plant or a CRD connection. The long term costs of building and maintaining a filtration/treatment plant including having certified operators maintaining the plant on a daily basis was greater than the CRD connection option.

At that time the majority of land owners were in favour of the CRD water connection.
 

Did the KLWD apply for grants to offset the high costs of the CRD Water connection Project being passed on to ratepayers?

Yes, we applied for several different grants(federal, provincial, regional) to help with the CRD water connection costs. The federal/ provincial applications were turned down. The only grant we received was from our regional director, Mike Hicks,who came through with a $230,000 a gas tax grant.
 

What is the schedule of debt repayments?

The loan is amortized over 20 years with a term of 10 years.
  • Balance as of June 3rd, 2022 was $1,755,987.58
  • Monthly payments are: $10,567.31
  • Current term ends in 2030, at which time the loan repayment terms will be reset based on the balance and interest rates at that time.
Hopefully, the terms at that time will mean a further reduction in taxes.
 

Was a proper, legitimate tendering process used to construct the water connection?

Once the construction plans were approved by KLWD, CRD Integrated Water and Vancouver Island Health Authority, we had the engineers' estimates for the cost. We also had an independent Quantity Surveyor (Advicas) prepare a detailed costing of the project based on the current construction market, as well as CRD Integrated Water estimated the costs for our grant applications.

These estimates were all in the range of $3.8 million.

We approached our own water operator contractor to give us his estimate. He said the district could do the project directly for approximately 2/3 the cost of the other estimates, potentially saving us well over $1million.

We conferred with the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs - Local Government Infrastructure which oversees Local Improvement Districts regarding our options to save the additional cost of a full tendering process considering the unlikelihood of the general construction market coming close to the cost of us doing it ourselves. The ministry said the legislation does not require a full tendering process. They agreed that given the differences in the estimates it was reasonable to proceed without the cost of a full tendering process.

Original Estimates: $3,794,000 (Advicas Quantity Surveyors) & CRD grant application
Actual costs: $2,484,300
Savings: $1,309,700 using our own contractor Anderson General Contracting LTD
Source of funds:
Grants: $   230,000 (Mike Hicks, JDF Regional Director (Gas tax))
RBC loan: $2,000,000
Reserves: $   254,300
Total: $2,484,300
The outcome was a savings of approximately $1.3 million.