Regional Rundown: Overview of the Edgewater water system

Edgewater residents will be pleased to know that major upgrades to our water system have been completed.

Edgewater residents will be pleased to know that major upgrades to our water system have been completed. A new pressure reducing valve station on the main road into town was recently installed and a new 1,000 square foot building on Upper Hewitt Road was constructed next to the reservoirs. The building houses an ultra-violet disinfection system, a chlorination system and new instrumentation that allows operators to remotely monitor the process through the internet. The new work space meets all Worksafe BC standards.

While the Edgewater system has seldom had to issue water quality advisories due to high turbidity (cloudiness in the water), the new treatment facility now meets the Interior Health Surface Water Treatment Objective of “3 Log” removal for Giardia and Cryptosporidium pathogenic organisms. Edgewater’s source water is the Macauley Creek basin where high altitude snow melt and springs run through old growth forest, which filters the water as it runs into Baptiste Lake. A small 25-acre pond surrounded by private land parcels (Elk Park Ranches), Baptiste Lake  was originally created in the early 1920s to supply seasonal irrigation water to ranches below. In 1962, the Edgewater Improvement District built a more substantial dam on the lake, and then permanently diverted Macauley Creek into the lake, which increased the volume of available water, both for agricultural  irrigation and domestic use within the community of Edgewater.

At the same time, a new water line was built connecting Baptiste Lake to a reservoir on Hewitt Road and into Edgewater. Over time, other upgrades have occurred, such as adding a second water line between Baptiste and Hewitt Road, as well as increasing reservoir capacity by adding a second, larger reservoir. Due to heavy sediment accumulation in Baptiste Lake, it is very important to properly manage this community water source we share with local agricultural irrigation licensees and that the entire Macauley Creek basin continues to be managed as a Community Watershed.

Gerry Wilkie is the Regional District of East Kootenay director for Area G, and can be reached at