Water FAQs


Can I tell if my drinking water is safe to drink just by looking at it, tasting it, or smelling it?

Germs generally cannot be detected by the naked eye, taste, or smell.  Even very good tasting stream water can contain germs. Chemicals are a somewhat different matter. Although chemicals can't be seen in water, many do impart tastes or odours.  Potable water should be clear, nearly taste-free and odour-free. Any changes in your water could signal a problem. If you do encounter an issue with your water changing, please contact the CSRD's operations department at 250-833.5950.

Do the water meters transmit at all times?

No. The water meters only transmit when downloading a reading, which is requested by the mobile drive-by VXU device. The only water meter system in active use is the Cedar Heights System.

Do the water meters transmit to other meters in the neighbourhood?

No. They only transmit the signal to the drive-by VXU reading unit when requested.

How are the water meters read?

Currently water meters are only active in the Cedar Heights system. The water meters are read quarterly by a drive-by reading device.

How can I conserve water?

The CSRD encourages water users to be mindful of their water use. For more information about water conservation at the CSRD click here.

We've also got a few tips you can incorporate into your daily life to help conserver water including:

  • Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth,
  • Only run the dishwasher when it's full,
  • Turn off automatic sprinklers if it has rained,
  • Catch rainwater for watering indoor plants,
  • Turn off the ice maker when it's full and/or during the winter months.

How do I get my water connection turned off?

Turning off your water system can have the potential to cause damage if done incorrectly. We recommend residents contact the CSRD Operations Department at 250.833.5950 or email operations@csrd.bc.ca for information.

If there is an after-hours water emergency that requires a water shut off, please contact the After-Hours Emergencies line at: 1.877.996.3344 or 250.832.2424.

There can be a cost to the consumer for water service shut off or to reconnect.

How do I pay my water bill?

CSRD water utility customers can pay their water utility bill online through most financial institutions in Canada.

To use the online banking feature, you will need to add the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as a payee and have your account number available. This is the 13-digit numeric code on the upper left hand portion of your bill.

Water utility customers can still pay in person at the CSRD office at 555 Harbourfront Drive NE, Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, using cash, cheque or debit card. Cheques or money orders can also be mailed to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, PO Box 978, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P1.

Please note post-marks are NOT accepted as the date of payment so be sure to mail your payment in plenty of time before the April 30 deadline.

For more information on payments, please contact Sheena Haines, Deputy Treasurer at 250.833.5908.

If my immune system is compromised, what should I drink?

If you are infected with HIV, have AIDS, are a cancer patient, are taking immunosuppressive drugs after a transplant or were born with a weakened immune system, you need to discuss this matter with your doctor. If you have been advised to boil your water, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute (three minutes at higher altitudes). This includes water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, washing food and so on. Any water you might swallow should be boiled.

People swim and boat in our water source. Should I be concerned?

Although swimmers and boats pollute, this pollution is diluted by the volume of water that is in the lake or reservoir. Tap water is also thoroughly treated before it arrives to you, meaning any contamination will have been removed. Fires, litter and stormwater runoff can cause far more trouble than pollution resulting from boat traffic or swimmers. 

What is SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition)?

The SCADA system that is currently used by CSRD and our contractors is internet-based and can be accessed through a laptop computer at any location. This system helps staff monitor and control our water systems and allows for better coverage and a higher level of service while simulatenously reducing costs.  Operators at any location can not only monitor, but can actually change the set points for flow, chlorine dose, pump run times etc. They can also react to alarming conditions, such as loss of flow, reservoir levels, power outage or high/low temperatures.

Trends in parameters such as reservoir levels, chlorine residual and turbidity can be graphed over a day, week or months, which enables CSRD staff to prevent any possible issues.This provides for a proactive rather than reactive apporach, thereby reducing callouts.

Example of a typical SCADA screen (Cedar Heights):

What is the definition of safe water? Why is it called potable water?

Water is considered safe to drink if it meets or exceeds all of the provincial standards that are legally enforceable. Water is called potable when it is safe to drink.

What style of water meters are used?

There are two types of water meters used in the CSRD: the Sensus SR II water meters or the iPerl meter.

When I'm working in the yard, I'm tempted to drink from the garden hose. Is this safe?

No.  A standard garden hose has substances in it to keep the hose flexible. These chemicals mix with the water as it goes through the hose. They are not good for you, animals or pets. Filling water bowls with the hose, therefore, is not a good idea.